January 2019 Issue

No Checklist For This

Some equipment failures, especially when IFR, don’t really have an associated checklist or procedure. Flying with a partial panel is one of them.

I was flying a 2002-model A36 Bonanza (yeah, with me it’s always a Bonanza) home to Wichita from Thanksgiving in Ohio with my wife and our son aboard. Somewhere over Indiana, the Bonanza’s attitude indicator (AI) began to tumble. The failure announced itself slowly, but very soon the instrument was pitching up and down in very distracting oscillations. It then displayed a range of indications—from off-scale nose-up pitch excursions to slightly below 20 degrees nose-down—in a roughly two-second cycle, while indicating bank angles between wings-level and about 10 degrees left.

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