August 2016 Issue

Anticipating Engine Failure

Understanding and heeding an engine’s indications of distress is a fundamental part of airmanship.

Failure of a single-engine aircraft’s lone powerplant is something students train for beginning with their first instructional flight. If they continue to certification, they’ve studied the basics of how engines work, the air, fuel and ignition source they need to keep working, and at least some understanding of the signs they’re about to stop. Most trainers lack the kind of sophisticated engine instrumentation that technology has brought us over the last couple of decades, so many students still fly behind gauges the basic design of which can be traced back to pre-WWII automobiles.

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