Losing An Engine With Your Family On Board

Losing An Engine With Your Family On Board

Today I had a long telephone conversation with a very astute aviation expert. He has been involved up the “food chain” of aviation for years. I am not mentioning names, but we have conversed on AVIATION SAFETY for years.

I told him I was working on the aviation failure accidents for the last 19 years for Twin Cessna pressurized aircraft. I pretty well knew what I was going to find because as an aviation attorney I had seen this picture in the aviation community for several years.

I own two Twin Cessna’s and have thousands of hours in these aircraft. I have had repeated problems including engine shutdowns. This is one reason I decided I had to try to help the innocent people in the back of the aircraft.

How do you help the people in the back of the aircraft?

Review the accident of the 421C where an engine failed, and the pilot lost it just short of the runway with his family in the back.

Please do not ever say, THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME. Yes, it could!

My friend asked me in the telephone call “why is this happening?”

Hold on to your pummel on your saddle (I used to train horses) as this story is fixing to start “bucking.”

Under-experienced pilots with too much money

I get under-experience pilots with too much money requesting training all the time. What am I trying to get across to them?

When you have a problem in flight you have to make sure that you understand the ramifications. Is it a shutdown? Is it a continuing flight? Is it a “find the closest airport?”

First, for all you pilots. You have been flying for three hours and watching every gauge and the engine starts coughing, missing, surging, popping, acting stupid and the PUCKER FACTOR kicks in. (Pucker Factor is the nervousness of not knowing what to do with the wife saying in the back “what is happening?”)

Oh Crap. It is going to happen. The more hours you fly the more it could happen.

If you are not trained to diagnose the problem, solve the problem, analyze problem, and make a decision, you are under-trained and in trouble.

Years ago, I did a multi-engine CFI (I think – I am old) with Norm Seward in Waco. It was the 70’s. (early 70’s) Norm had a business card that went like this:

“If you are flying and under control, work the problem. If you are not flying, and you are not under control, BEND OVER, GRAB YOUR ANKLES AND KISS YOUR SWEET A** GOODBYE.”

Norm Seward

I teach on that premise. To keep you flying and to work the problem.

“Hey I passed my multi-engine FAA rating ride. I am an expert.”

Not no, but HELL NO. There is no way you can save your A**, as Norm would say, with what the FAA is required to teach you.

Let me put it this way.

Can you keep your 421C in the air with your family on board, at night, with a FAA multi-engine rating and not knowing how to fly a 421C for 30 minutes on one engine from 14,500 feet to a runway you have never hit before at night, in the dark, and walk away safely?


And it will never happen to you?

Tell that to the family of the 421C crash in Demopolis, Alabama in 2011. Seven family members as fatalities. All because the pilot-father-husband was undertrained.

A Twin Cessna will fly on one engine—at night, in the dark, in weather—IF YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO.

Fly Safe. Train Hard.