Flying Instructors & Examiners A place for instructors to communicate with one another because some of them get a bit tired of the attitude that instructing is the lowest form of aviation, as seems to prevail on some of the other forums!

Sharing an emergency

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Old 13th Dec 2018, 17:27
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Students and pilots overall are like sponges the more information we have the more chance of a better outcome should an incident occur, of course not every thing were told or learn is remembered.
But no harm trying, I find often the more heads the better I suppose that's why big jets have multi crew, hoping one of them might remember something in an incident
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Old 15th Dec 2018, 04:37
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I had a NVFR student have a vac. pump failure when we were on the last leg of a NVFR navex, towards the end of his training. I let him continue to fly & manage the problem, with the view that I'd take over if needed.

Then when I did his test some days later (with a new vac pump installed), the poor sod had the AI fail. Same as before, I let him deal with it. Fortunately we'd met all the required test items. He did fine so I passed him.
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Old 18th Dec 2018, 13:10
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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?

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.

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.

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!
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Old 19th Dec 2018, 09:53
  #24 (permalink)  
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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.

G
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 22:15
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Genghis:

i would suggest that rather then recreating the event, you use it instead as an example of why the foundation flying skills matter
​​
My experience is that many recreational pilots accept sloppy flying from themselves. The reality is most of the time it doesn’t matter. However your incident is a perfect example of when near perfect flying could be the difference between a successful outcome or a bad ending.

For example if the airplane is going to climb with a reduced power condition then nailing the pitch attitude and staying coordinated is critical. I would suggest going to the practice area and experimenting. Set a reduced power and show your guy what happens when the ball is half out of the cage and the airspeed is 5 kts too slow.

Similarly the kind of scenario you described also will often require a fairly steep descending turn towards the runway. Again something worth practicing and showing what happens if you do it badly.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 20:56
  #26 (permalink)  
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Thanks for that BPF, some good and useful advice.

G
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 04:30
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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My own approach in an emergency situation where loss of aircraft was a possibility, I would take control and use crew resource management techniques to include the student as a resource to share tasks with. If loss of aircraft wasn't a concern I'd let the student troubleshoot and make appropriate decisions but as soon as that line was crossed, I'd assume control (per the preflight briefing), and would handle the situation as the actual pilot in command using all available resources including the student to safely recover the aircraft.

Genghis, It sounds like you did the right thing including the thorough post-flight debrief. A brutally honest postflight debrief after an inflight emergency can make a huge and lasting impact on a young pilot's career. If you make a mistake, own it and debrief to it. I've had students call me out on areas of discrepancy that I glossed over, and every time I let them know that I approved of their thorough and honest debrief inputs and spent extra time going over whatever questions they may have had. I think it helped, they're all still alive anyhow.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 04:38
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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BPF has a great point, as does your (Genghis) comment about identifying the initial problem via lower than expected climb performance. On my ATP checkride, we were on a normal climbout (in a Baron) and I noticed that I just wasn't getting the climb performance I expected. At that point I had a grand total of 4.5 hours in that aircraft so I was by no means an expert, but still, I noticed it. Turns out that the sun was shining right on the landing gear indicator lights and when I raised the landing gear handle I simply couldn't tell that the 3 green lights never went out and I assumed that they did because they always had in the past. Turns out we had a stuck weight on wheels switch and the gear was stuck down. My check airman let me handle everything and we landed uneventfully. That entire event goes back to basic airmanship. Did we repeat the after takeoff tasks by rote memory or did we actually confirm that the gear came up? During our climb check, did we compare actual vs. expected climb performance? Before landing, did we use every available resource to confirm the condition of the landing gear before actually landing? A break in basic airmanship with the erroneous gear-up confirmation was caught later on by noticing the climb performance discrepancy. If I hadn't noticed that, we could potentially have completed the entire first half of the checkride with the gear hanging, most likely with a gear overspeed in there somewhere. Because the sun was shining right on the gear lights and I was a bit complacent when calling/confirming gear up after takeoff.

100% correct on foundational flying skills being key to not only handling an inflight emergency, but also in noticing the problem in the first place.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 20:59
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting thread Genghis!
Last things first: Always debrief!" 5 main points , 5 minutes an old TRE once told me!"
But that is during normal training. I always ask crew on a normal day if they want a 30 minute de brief as I am payed for, 99% of time not needed.
But debrief FOs after parkbrake set shutdown check list comlpete and pax deboarding when things are fresh is my standard.
Not instructing the last years, but I want feedback and any issues sorted as I go home.
The no debrief from the epipen episode is amateurish,imho!

Now for the abnormal and emergency: PIC ie You take control and decide and RT!
If it had gone into the hedge with You letting the Student ( He was not a qualified PIC at the time) handle it as if solo and having to relay all info into his somewhat rusty circuitry it would be easy to criticize You as PIC! No?

I find myself more and more on normal lineflights taking the RT ,to quickly solve potential problems, mostly with relived nod from the right side.

I particularly am concerned about all the incidents with 3 pilots in the flightdeck.
Were I suspect modern CRM fails due to lack of formal protocol with regards to the third persons duty.
Turkish AMS and the 777 SFO comes to mind , never mind the latest MAX accident with an Engineer on the jumpseat if I got that right.
My point being it is safer to take control and later give it back if so desired, then find that the student makes it more critical.
Nice circuit
Happy ( on field ) Landings
Cpt B

Last edited by BluSdUp; 5th Jan 2019 at 21:09. Reason: Posting problem
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 04:33
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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A bit of diagnostic work showed a left mag circuit failure. An engineer this morning found it was a failed plug on that circuit.
G[/QUOTE]

..A fouled spark plug is a common occurence in the older, carburated piston engines..For this reason,
understanding the mechanics of the ignition system is a must..A misfire condition at low altitude, especially after
takeoff, can bring a single-engine plane down, if no action taken by the pilot..

Fly Safe,
B757

..
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 09:08
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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The trouble checks were always "F**k Me, I'm In Trouble!"

FUEL - quantity, pressure, selection of tanks
MIXTURE- go Full Rich, or if already there, try a small movement back
IGNITION - Mags both
INSTRUMENTS - any obvious indications?
THROTTLE - see if there is any response to movement.
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 10:25
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
The trouble checks were always "F**k Me, I'm In Trouble!"

FUEL - quantity, pressure, selection of tanks
MIXTURE- go Full Rich, or if already there, try a small movement back
IGNITION - Mags both
INSTRUMENTS - any obvious indications?
THROTTLE - see if there is any response to movement.
..Works perfect, except Mags Both..You will understand after your 1st magneto failure..

Fly Safe,
B-757
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