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Ben Sandilands

Posted February 7, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

An experienced pilot who doesn’t wish to comment in his own name or using an alias has offered the following perspective, which I think makes some persuasive observations:

When I did my multi engine rating, my instructor strongly emphasised that the actions after engine failure must be done quickly. I’ve had discussions with other multi engine rated pilots who all sing from the same songsheet & there’s almost a macho mentality that says ‘if you can’t do it quickly you shouldn’t be flying one’.

They’re wrong. It’s stupid. People die as a result.

Agreed that pilots ought to, on an ongoing basis, practise & be familiar with engine out procedures.
Agreed that pilots ought to think about what they will do in the unlikely event of an engine failure after takeoff, before every takeoff.

But, the training mentality that pilots must accomplish the engine out procedures with haste is the problem.

After engine failure, the first & main priority is to control the aircraft. The TransAsia pilots appear to have not done this.
The subsequent actions, identifying the engine which has failed, ought to be done carefully. The TransAsia pilots appear to have not done this.
An engine failure after takeoff is stressful. That’s even more reason why pilots should be trained to take a pause before identifying the failed engine.

While I acknowledge that engine failures are practised in a simulator, there’s a huge mental difference between being in a sim & knowing that you’re physically safe, compared to being in a plane with big scary objects outside and knowing you might die.

If the ATR engine auto feathers, then it’s almost idiot proof. Almost.
You would just have to maintain control of the aircraft on the single working engine, pretty much without any additional actions.
If you were basically competent in hand flying an aircraft [a topic for another day] then you’d be looking every bit the hero.
But throw in a rushed engine failure check in a stress situation & you’d have the perfect ingredients for a crash.

As you’d know from crash reports, this is not the first of this type of accident & certainly won’t be the last.

As a passenger, I’m always a little nervous until there’s a goodly amount of height between me & the ground. I know how pilots are trained!