November 2018 Issue

The Real Risks Of Engine Failures

Putting it down safely in a pinch is the goal, and the data indicate doing so is more likely than not. But managing the risk begins way before the noise stops.

Before taking steps to minimize the risk of engine failures, we probably should try to quantify it. Thanks to the way U.S. aviation mishaps are cataloged, itís safe to say that engine failures happen more often than the data reflect. The sidebar at the bottom of the opposite page goes into greater detail, but itís safe to say engine failures that donít result in substantial damage, serious injury or death arenít part of the data. In fact, the NTSBís definitions specifically exclude ď[e]ngine failure or damage limited to an engine if only one engine fails or is damaged....Ē The punchline is that official data underestimate the actual and unknown engine-failure rate. Personal experience bears this out.

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