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Old 19th Dec 2018, 08:53
  #23 (permalink)  
Genghis the Engineer
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 13,630
Originally Posted by deefer dog View Post
To the OP: I'm guessing that you were satisfied after completing the power checks prior to departure, and that the mag drops were within limits. Assuming this to be so, the fault that you later diagnosed (loss of one mag) would surely have only led to a relatively small reduction of RPM - perhaps no more than 200 with max power selected?
80ish both sides, yes. I think that the plug failed in initial climb.

I'm assuming that the reduced ROC was due to the natural instinct of your student (or perhaps you) to pitch down, and the VSI reflected this with the indications you quote. Nevertheless the aircraft had sufficient power to maintain a safe climb, and you were in the immediate vicinity of the aerodrome. I think that a PAN call was appropriate, but as to whether you as instructor should have taken immediate control is debatable and depends on a number of factors, not least of which is your experience as an instructor and the confidence you have in knowing the limits of your abilities.
Had I *known* that things wouldn't escalate (which they didn't) maybe I'd have been content to leave it with my student. But I have prior experience of a partial leading to a total, and my student's PFLs and landings aren't brilliant - so taking over was the right choice.

The absolute safest course of action was that which you chose. As instructor you were not only the P1, but your level experience and qualifications indicate that you were the safer and more current pair of hands to deal with the issue. As instructors though our function is to teach skills, and these are best taught with supervised practice. As Ascend Charlie pointed out, "you tell me, I forget - you show me, I might remember, and you let me do it, I learn." As students master new skills their confidence is boosted, and this propels the learning process.
Absolutely, although of course we've also got in flying that vital tool - the debrief, which I used as best I could once everything had settled out. I think that we both felt that, with him observing and my including him in a robust debrief, he learned a lot from the exercise. It would have been relatively easy to just say "lesson over, I'm off home, see you once the aeroplane's fixed", but to my mind that's missing a huge learning opportunity.

As instructors we often allow students to deal with abnormal situations. A ballooned landing is a good example of something that has gone wrong that needs to be corrected in the appropriate way, and with a degree of haste. A junior instructor will have less confidence in his ability to correct the balloon if the student fails to act quickly, whereas a seasoned teacher is likely to give the student more time to fix something he needs to learn to deal with. A rough or partially running engine is not an entirely different matter, especially when the student has been taught emergencies of this nature previously.

I think it would be unfair of anyone to criticize you for handling the airplane yourself as only you know the full circumstances, weather etc. You didn't tell us though whether you let him/her carry out the approach and landing once you had attained a safe height and dealt with the RT. Glad all ended well!
A lot of my thinking was the risk of the "urgency" escalating beyond the student's ability to manage it, and then the control transfers interfering with smooth conduct of the flight. I also was working, relatively speaking, at the limits of my capacity - so bringing in a further brief and handover to him for the approach and landing - with an engine misbehaving - did not seem at all wise.

What I might yet do (the aeroplane's now fixed) is replicate that with him however, but with a known good engine.

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