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Tips for a multi-engine-instructor-to-be?

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Tips for a multi-engine-instructor-to-be?

Old 16th Jul 2020, 13:59
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Tips for a multi-engine-instructor-to-be?

I've been a glider instructor since 2013. I completed FAA multi-engine commercial pilot training in March; I've been offered a King Air SIC job. Since I've spent so much effort studying for the commercial pilot rating I decided I would pursue ME instructor. I have the checkride scheduled for September. I will be in the odd position of being glider commercial/instructor and ME commercial/instructor but "only" private pilot for SE. Two places are willing to let me instruct for them when complete.

FAA rules are different from EASA rules, but the things that can hurt you or break airplanes are universal.

What tips/advice can you share about being a multi engine instructor?


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Old 16th Jul 2020, 14:58
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ME IR instructing is an expensive game to keep current but salaries aren't to bad. Just watch any asymmetric stuff like a hawk. Keep your feet in the rider pedals and always give yourself margins on airspeed and altitude. Also older higher perofrmance twins can have some high spec engines (geared, turbocharged etc) just know the POH and engine manuals well, especially if their privately owned.

Hope that helps

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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:08
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"Dead Leg equals Dead engine"
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 19:09
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I have around 60 hrs teaching for the Multi Rating out of a total of around 2500 hrs instructing for all the licenses ratings and aerobatic and formation instruction as well. Personally pretty much all the really scary moments were doing the ME rating including

1) the student retracting the gear instead of the flaps on a touch and go

2) ending up inverted after the student stalled the airplane during a engine failure during the go around exercise

3) having the student almost feather both engines on short final when they got the knobs mixed up and pulled the props all the way back instead of the throttles.

For most students doing the ME rating will be coming pretty much straight from a C172 or Pa28. They will have little to no experience with retractable gear, constant speed props and faster approach speeds. It is easy to overload the student so you have to take the training slowly and methodically and watch them like a hawk. Things can go bad fast particularly single engine, so if the situation is deteriorating don't try to explain, take control.

Give yourself lots of room. The single engine maneuvers should be practiced at 3000 ft AGL or higher,

For the VMC demo I block the rudder pedals with my foot so the student can only apply half travel. This ensures the VMC roll off occurs at a higher and thus safer speed.

After wrecking one airplane I don't do touch and go landings. All ME training landings are to a full stop with a taxi back and the pretakeoff checklist completed. Also after touchdown I do not let the student touch any switch or control until the aircraft is off the runway.

Bottom line: Watch them like a hawk !
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 20:49
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I heartily concur with BPF’s advice!

I have about 1000hrs ME/IR/FIC instructing out of a total of about 3500.

My scariest moment was during night circuits on a Seneca I. Student had been doing really well and I was enjoying the sensations and different viewpoint afforded by the dark conditions. SOP was to reduce from full power to 25” 2500RPM at 200’agl. Student duly reduced to 25” and then mistook the mixtures for the props and pulled them back, whilst watching the RPM gauges. Not surprisingly, the gauges didn’t move at all, until there was a sudden silence! We were now passing about 400ft. I awoke from my reverie, took control and pushed everything forward.

A close second was when I simulated an EFATO at about 200ft and the student applied the wrong rudder, compensating with lots of aileron. I was confused as we were still flying “straight” but going downhill quite quickly.

As mentioned, the ME training aircraft might be the student’s first exposure to complex aircraft, especially now that the Arrow seems to be retired, and the FAA are allowing Commercial check rides on a C172.

Mentally rehearse which rudder should be applied before you simulate a failure.
Watch the students’ hands, (and feet?!) and encourage slow, deliberate selections.
Be especially careful with switch panels that are on the left sidewall. They may be out of your reach.
Give yourself some regular practice. EFATO control and drills can be demonstrated on most sorties. It’s easy to sit, watch and debrief a student but more difficult to demonstrate and patter the exercise! Your skills need refreshing regularly.

Another common misunderstanding concerns the basic difference between fuel systems.

In the Seneca, Duchess, Seminole, Diamond; the fuel selectors are labelled “LEFT ENG” and “RIGHT ENG”.
The possible selections with these “engine” controls are ON, OFF or X-FEED.

In the Aztec, Navajo; the fuel selectors are labelled “MAIN” and “AUX”, or “INBD” and “OUTBD”. There is a separate X-FEED selector. These fuel selectors are not “engine” controls but “tank” controls.

It might seem obvious to read the AFM and take note of the placards and labels but I have witnessed an experienced ME instructor giving dubious generic advice about fuel management.

Another possible confusion is whether or not your aircraft has unfeathering accumulators.

Janitrol Heaters and TKS anti-ice systems also require an understanding of what they can and cannot do. If the only reset button for the heater is under the nose cowling, you want to look after it during winter!

Last edited by eckhard; 16th Jul 2020 at 21:17.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 13:25
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Yeah, watch what levers are being pulled where by the student - probably the most common mistake.

Mentally rehearse which rudder should be applied before you simulate a failure.
Iíd go further than that and ďblockĒ the wrong rudder from coming forwards with my feet. No pressure on the pedals, just a foot resting millimetres above the pedal.

Good fun all round though.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 19:12
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I miss the multi instruction, did 300 odd hours of 6 hour courses (or a bit more on average) 20 years ago but now the average school can't afford to run a twin in the UK anymore, yet they can be cheaper than singles to buy.
I think pilots become more professional having done multi engine.
Don't skip the takeoff brief regards eng. fail proc.
Don't do rushed takeoffs, let everything settle then power up on brakes. (ATC can you take an immediate, reply Negative).
Just watch which mags student switches off when running a dead engine, eg Seneca, can be hard to see whats's going on.
Some checklists are dreadful, write your own if you have to.
Never do touch and go off a sim. asymmetric approach. I saw the result of this, someone cartwheeled and rolled over a Duchess doing this.
Know the flap system, some flaps take a long time to retract to max lift position when doing touch and goes (Cessna 340), could run out of runway.
Also any draggy undercarriages, i think the 337 has a reversed sequence of drag retraction.
Careful complex types like 421, i think someone ruined an engine doing a practise shutdown and start not following correct proc.. Something to do with balance shafts i think.
Don't shut down that engine which you found a bugger to start on the ground, seen that one return for a real asy. landing.
Always make sure the heater works in winter, they can be very cold aircraft otherwise. Make sure the windshield is nicely polished if you know rain is about.
Also could be the first time the student has seen an autopilot if fitted. Engaging that with the roll knob twisted to max can be interesting.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 19:52
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Thank you so much for the above. I flew this morning...

My first right seat flight was at night into Atlanta just because with COVID we could. Last week was my first real effort from the right seat - all pattern work to get comfortable. Today I worked on the various required maneuvers and then "simulated" instructing. That was eye opening!

The guy in the left seat was my instructor for the commercial. I know he can fly! Giving feedback to his "student errors" felt weird. Because I trust him, I was not "on/near the controls" when simulating failures. Reading the above reinforces what the instructor said.

I'm not a touch and go fan. I read once "how can you teach landing when you're trying to take off before the landing is done?" Makes sense. I understand the desire to save money when flying something that costs $330/hour. But safety is paramount. No reconfiguring until off the runway.

Until today, I've never explained "how to fly a twin" to anyone; the only people I've ever been in a twin with have more experience than me. I had no patter considered/rehearsed. I need to work on that. A lot.

Please continue; I've really enjoyed the above. It will be beneficial

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Old 17th Jul 2020, 23:10
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- Stop fast hands in the cockpit. Make your students be slow and methodical in everything they do

- Enforce checklist discipline. example : (simulated) emergency initiated by you. Student calls emergency and name of emergency checklist, carries out memory actions (touch drill) slowly and carefully, goes to checklist, and starting at the top confirms memory items completed and actions non memory items, student vocalizes his/her "This is what I am going to do as a result of this emergency" Don't do emergency bingo, set up an emergency and make the student correctly carry it out to the end including the "so what now" decision making.

- Ride them like a cheap donkey with respect to yaw control. Most of your students will have come from airplanes where you can get away with poor control of yaw. Single engine work will introduce yaw rates they will likely have never seen and they will be reluctant to put in enough rudder and will instead try to stop the yaw with aileron. Make them use the rudder !

- Insist that they learn the flows, SOP's and emergency memory items before you get in the airplane. You are wasting your time and their money if they don't come prepared.

- Think about and practice your actions in the event of an actual emergency especially for the engine fail on the take off roll and the EFATO

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Old 18th Jul 2020, 02:24
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Exactly what BPA just said. And also:

Make damn sure they thoroughly understand the certification performance requirements for the different MTOW or speed categories. You do not want them flying Part 23 twins thinking the good engine will always enable them to keep airborne. And even in those that certification requires some positive climb performance, make sure they get to see, more than once, how gear or flap or unfeathered affects performance.

They need to understand when it's appropriate to go straight to feather, or if troubleshooting is an option ie 'fix or feather' decision points.

Understand the difference between certification's limit of 5* angle of bank (for control) to derive Vmc and best performance AoB (2-3*). And when one is more appropriate than the other.
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Old 21st Jul 2020, 13:20
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I was reviewing the FAA's Practical Test Standards for flight instructor yesterday during my lunch break. I tried to recall the comments above and consider what patter I would use to describe the maneuvers. There was a comment above about reviewing procedures before flying; I think that certainly applies to me learning to be a multiengine instructor as well. A good bit of "chair flying" is in order.

I have a friend who is in a similar status as I was before my ME commercial checkride - single engine instrument rated private pilot and glider instructor. He's mentioned he'd like to train with me for ME commercial once I pass my checkride. I asked my instructor his thought(s) on this - a new instructor, instructing a friend... He's OK with the idea since I will be familiar with the syllabus, lesson plans, etc. But he agrees there's a bit a risk management consideration involved. (My friend is not ME rated on his private certificate, so in lieu of actual solo he will get ten hours "performing the duties of PIC" with an instructor on board. Logged as PIC with a note instead of dual.

I'm looking forward to more progress.
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Old 22nd Jul 2020, 20:43
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Itís not hard. If you are a current multi engine pilot then itís a non event. With several thousand hours as a ME Instructor and Examiner I can tell you the only real problems you will encounter if you are actually current is poor touch drills and slow response in EFATO drills that allow the aircraft to sink and drift. Stay on top of them doing the drills correctly, get the aircraft clean and climbing.
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Old 23rd Jul 2020, 02:08
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1. Expect the unexpected
2. From Richard McSpadden - in an emergency or unexpected situation “take three seconds & make the optimum decision, rather than one second & make a reactive decision” because you can do a lot of damage in a very short period of time! The Startle Factor is REAL...
3. VMCA accidents in training occur with regular monotony, especially in high performance turboprops like the Kingair & Cessna Conquest, where instructors, when simulating an engine failure, retard the power lever to flight idle rather than zero thrust. By doing this, instructors are introducing two unrelated system failures - the engine & the Auto Feather system (NTS in the Conquest) & this makes aircraft control extremely difficult & has resulted in many loss of control accidents in Australia! This message is not being learnt in Aust...

Last edited by VH-MLE; 25th Jul 2020 at 02:03. Reason: Add additional comments to point 3.
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Old 19th Sep 2020, 22:48
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Thank you for the above advice. I had it in mind as I took the check ride this morning. It went well

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Old 20th Sep 2020, 15:19
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Students can be apprehensive about asymmetric training.
Just think it as flying a rather oddly constructed single seems to help - it did with me!
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Old 20th Sep 2020, 16:45
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Originally Posted by LTCTerry View Post

Thank you for the above advice. I had it in mind as I took the check ride this morning. It went well


Another tip, in case of touch and goes training, agree in advance with the student during the briefing who and how will retract the flaps before adding power.
I like to suggest myself as the one handling the flap after touching down with a clear "I have control, flaps identified, flaps up, you have control" making sure the student doesn't rush nor feel rushed to take off again. Touch and goes is not a natural maneuver.
Another tip for the seneca... "one finger one action" (after take off lights off student can easily aim at both magnetos if done with two fingers in one go).
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Old 20th Sep 2020, 19:32
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Originally Posted by Airgus View Post

Another tip for the seneca... "one finger one action" (after take off lights off student can easily aim at both magnetos if done with two fingers in one go).
Excellent tip. Guess who fat fingered the mags during the run up before flying off to meet the examiner...
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Old 10th Oct 2020, 19:49
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The place where I did my training has agreed to let me instruct in their Seminole. I have a couple people interested in flying, so it will begin soon. I hope the mild apprehension will lead to good preparation!

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Old 10th Oct 2020, 20:29
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Originally Posted by PlusNet View Post
Students can be apprehensive about asymmetric training.
Just think it as flying a rather oddly constructed single seems to help - it did with me!
Sounds good to me!
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