SCAN OFTEN FOR THESE INDICATIONS
Low Oil Pressure
If you notice dropping oil pressure, you might have a broken or cracked oil line. Low oil pressure is usually accompanied by high oil temperature. An oil pressure indication below 10 psi, means you’re about to experience engine failure. Get that puppy on the ground ASAP.
High Oil Temperature
High oil temperature usually occurs when there’s not enough oil inside the engine. There might be a trace of oil remaining and that small amount circulates quickly throughout the engine, but fails to keep things cool and lubricated.
High oil temperature is usually accompanied by a drop in oil pressure. If the oil pressure remains normal, you probably have a faulty oil temperature gauge. Land ASAP.
Dropping Fuel Flow
If you notice a drop in fuel flow, you might have a failing fuel pump, some sort of valve, or leaking fuel line. Most commonly, we turn on the boost fuel pump. If that doesn’t work and fuel flow continues to decrease, your engine will eventually quit. Land ASAP.
Improper fuel management causes far too many GA accidents. According to AOPA Air Safety Institute, pilots are forced to land nearly two times per week, mostly because they didn’t use good judgement when planning. In New Zealand, the pilots are a slightly safer, averaging a little over one incident per week. If you’re running off of a tank that’s nearly empty, you’re putting yourself in a bad spot and you’re likely to make the local news. At the very least, you’ll scare your passenger(s) and they may never fly with you again!
There’s a variety of reasons an engine might run rough. A failed magneto, damaged components, carburetor ice, primary engine induction air system blockage, and improper mixture management are some of the most common reasons. Start looking for the cause right away, and if you can’t solve it, plan to get on the ground before things get worse. Land ASAP
Drop In RPM Or Manifold Pressure
Carbureted Engine: A drop in RPM or Manifold Pressure could be a sign that your engine has carburetor ice. If you don’t correct the problem with carburetor heat, more ice could build up and cut off the fuel/air mixture required for your engine to run.
Turbocharged Engine: A loss of manifold pressure could be a result of a Primary Engine Induction Air System Blockage – icing. The Automatic Alternate engine induction air system should open automatically. (ALT AIR annunciator should illuminate). If it doesn’t open automatically, manually pull the Alternate Air knob.
Rising Manifold Pressure
This could be a sign that your engine is about to fail, or already has started to. As the engine fails, air pressure inside the engine will begin to return to ambient air pressure. For instance, if you’re flying with 22 inches of manifold pressure and experience an engine failure on a standard day at sea level, manifold pressure in that engine will rise to approximately 29.92 inches. Land ASAP
Visible Leaks, Flames, Or Smoke
Do you notice fuel or oil steaming down the cowling, wings, or fuselage? Even worse, do you see flames or smoke coming from the cowling of your engine? These are some of the most dangerous signs of an oncoming engine failure. Land ASAP
In extreme cases, parts have been known to rip through the cowling and fly away. In rare cases, entire pistons have ripped free of their connections, puncturing the cowling and causing the engine to vibrate to the point of destruction. Land ASAP
The ABCs of an Emergency Landing
A = Airspeed
Maintain the aircraft’s best glide speed. Maintaining this speed ensures that you’ll maximize your range so that you have more distance and time to set yourself up for a nice landing and complete the appropriate checklist.
B = Best Place to Land
If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, it’s not usually too hard to find a field to land in. It can be challenging to find a decent place to land if you’re over a congested area, though. You’ll want to find a place quickly either way, but there are a few things to consider before you rush to a decision.
Choose a landing area away from people or buildings. Fields are good options, but exercise caution as there are often times large ditches, irrigation trenches and power lines surrounding them. Once you find a place to land, try to set up a normal traffic pattern for your approach, remembering to land into the wind when possible.
C = Checklist
Check your AIRCRAFT’S OPERATING HANDBOOK for your specific procedures
After you establish best-glide speed and are headed toward your landing spot, you should try to re-establish power.
- Switch to another Fuel Tank
- Cycle the Magnetos
- Turn the Boost Pump ON
If you can’t get the engine to develop power, you should begin the emergency landing checklist so you can have a fighting chance at a survivable landing.
- Seat belts – ON
- Shoulder harnesses, if equipped – ON
- Door – UNLATCHED
- Fuel selector – OFF
- Mixture – IDLE CUTOFF
- Mags – OFF
- Flaps – AS DESIRED