When Do You Shut Down an Engine? You Have to Know the Systems First.

When do you shut down an aircraft engine?

One of the major things we want you to get out of our course is when and why do you shut down an engine. We have consistently thrown this out at the very beginning of our recurrent and initial course and we never get consistent answers. One thing that we focus on in our courses, which are geared to emergencies, is how do you qualify information from the aircraft itself to shut down the engine or leave the engine running and work the problem. It is just not taught by other facilities.

Engines are much like our body. We have a heart that pumps liquid (blood) and the engine on our aircraft have the same thing (oil pump) going out from the pump (arteries) and one returning to the pump (veins).  We have joints in our body and we have “joints” in the engine and a nervous system which is electrical flow.  Based on this we show you ways to “qualify” when to shut down an engine.

We spend a lot of time on the electrical system.  From that we discuss some ways to handle electrical emergencies.  As always we are not just going to read a book to you we are going to work problems together. We will tell you that you have an electric failure and together we discuss how we and you would handle the problem. 

All of our courses are geared to reduce “pucker factor.”  So that when “it” hits the fan you know what to do.  One thing, of many things that we suggest, is to please memorize the emergency gear extension.  Also, the warning signs of problems with the gear especially the hydraulic system on the 421C and 414A.  Remember, we own these airplanes and we know what problems they have.  We pass some of our secrets over to our pilots for them to consider and use. 

I always tell the story of the B-26 Marauder made by the Glenn Martin Company in New York during World War II.  The first couple of them went to Elgin Army Airfield and the crews were killed.  Truman was on the Senate Appropriations Committee and wanted to kill the project. Hap Arnold sent Jimmy Doolittle to Elgin to find out what the problem was.  Dolittle had a Doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT.  Several weeks later he reported back to Arnold there was nothing wrong with the plane it was bad training.  From there the plane became a winner in the European theatre.

AST does not do what other facilities do.  We challenge you to train especially on emergencies.  Many a pilot has left our courses with “I never knew some of the problems they showed me and how to handle them.”  Our training is not for the pilots, it is for the innocent people in the back of the aircraft.

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