In “The Engine-Out Glide” article in your August issue, there was a sidebar about stopping the prop bringing an eight-percent improvement in glide distance. Many years ago, I took the GAMI Advanced Pilot Course. In that course, there was a discussion that it’s best to move the throttle to the wide-open position during an engine-out glide. No one ever mentions this in the press, nor do I see it in piston aircraft emergency procedures.
If you think about it, a windmilling engine is pumping air against a barrier (a.k.a., the misnamed “compression braking”) when the throttle is closed. I’m not going to do the experiment, but I wonder whether most or all of that eight-percent advantage can be had by simply opening the throttle fully without having to lose altitude by slowing to stop the prop. This advice would hold for constant-speed props as well, especially if oil pressure loss positioned the prop in fine pitch.
Steve Kleiman – Via email
We took the same course, back in the day, but don’t recall that specific discussion. Might have been a one-off conversation. But the engineering seems sound, and it’s definitely something we’ll consider the next time we’re out practicing.
Catherine Cavagnaro and Bill Kershner flew a Cessna 152 Aerobat for their stopped-prop research. It would be interesting to replicate it with different airplanes of various configurations, especially constant-speed props.
Great stuff (“If X, Then Y,” September 2021), as always! Regarding your curveball fuel stop that had no fuel….
I’m relatively new to flying but have already established a habit of calling ahead to be sure the FBO is open, the airport is open, with fuel and working pumps, etc. It’s saved me a couple of times in my short (six-year) GA career. In one case, the airport was actually closed because of a big parade in the town. I told her that there was no Notam, to which she replied along the lines of she forgot because she’s been very busy getting ready for the town’s big celebration. Borderline paranoia, some would say, and I’m okay with that.
Even with this practice, I’ll probably get caught someplace. But hopefully, as you were, with enough fuel in the tank to get out!
Steve Reeves – Via email
We’re also big advocates of calling ahead, especially to smaller, non-towered airports, but we didn’t do that this time for some reason. We’d been in there before for a fuel stop, and knew the airport had a modern self-serve facility, but didn’t call ahead and ended up regretting it. In this case, it might not have done much good since the truck with a fresh load of 100LL supposedly had been requested and would be there “any day now,” and the aircraft before me took on more than twice what I needed to fill my tanks. The airport attendant was as surprised as I was annoyed.
Before I took off for the nearby airport with fuel, I called two others even closer. Neither of them answered the phone. Someone at the third did answer, confirmed they had fuel and that’s where I went.
OSHKOSH OR BUST
Thanks for your article on this crash (‘Oshkosh Or Bust,’ Accident Probe, July 2021). “Get-there-itis” is so common, as you know. It continues to occur, week in and week out. Here in middle Tennessee, we recently had a similar accident: A Cessna Citation 501 SP took off in conditions similar to those in your article. The pilot lost control after takeoff and crashed in a lake, killing all seven persons aboard.
I’m a safety counselor and have developed a Safety Chart for the pilots to use in making safety-related decisions, based on each pilot’s own experience level. But even if this safety program was followed, most of these accidents are going to continue to occur anyway. How do we relate the seriousness to GA pilots of all that is involved in flying airplanes?
Keep up the good work by including these accidents in your magazine!
Will Rondeau – Via email