May 2010 Issue

When The Sparks Stop

When confronting an airborne electrical failure, know your aircraft and implement a load-shedding plan to handle the worst-case scenario.

This aviation "thing" brings with it the potential for events seemingly designed to test our internal response systems. You know the kind: situations with substantial potential for our adrenal glands to start working overtime. Learning how to deal with these kinds of events is one of the things flight training is all about. The time we spend with an instructor practicing various scenarios—from broken gyros and other useless instruments to no-flap landings and complete engine failure—teaches us how to combat a number of not-uncommon problems. And, unless we’re flying a glider, hot-air balloon or powered aircraft lacking an electrical system, the prospect of losing those flowing electrons—especially when in flight conditions where we really, really need them—is one very real prospect.

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