Simulated power loss leads to real accident

This June 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Beech Duke. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Edenton, N.C. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was receiving an instrument proficiency check from a flight instructor in the multi-engine airplane.

He had a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He had logged 1,558 hours, including 343 hours in the Beech Duke, of which 12 hours were in the 30 days prior to the accident. The pilot administering the IPC had logged 30,000 hours.

According to the pilot receiving instruction, prior to the flight, the instructor stated that he had “not flown a Beech 60 in a while” but did not elaborate on how recent his experience was in a Duke or how much time he had in that make and model.

The pilot receiving instruction said there was no discussion in regard to the procedures to be used for simulated engine power loss. The first hour of the flight was uneventful. During the second hour, the pilot initiated a takeoff with the instructor controlling the throttles. During the takeoff roll, the flight instructor did not advance the engine throttles to the full forward position. The instructor put the manifold pressure to 36 to 37 inches on each engine, not the 40 inches the pilot was expecting. As a result, the airplane did not accelerate normally. At 83 knots, the pilot rotated to a 10° nose up attitude, observed the vertical speed indicator move in a positive direction, and called “positive rate, gear up.”

The pilot was about to say “I need 40 inches of manifold pressure for the climb” when he saw a quick movement of the flight instructor’s hands down and aft. The pilot was surprised that the flight instructor was simulating an engine failure with 36 inches manifold pressure on one engine, the other engine windmilling, landing gear extended, and with only 83 to 85 knots of airspeed.

The pilot estimated that the airplane attained an altitude of about 100 feet and an airspeed of 85 knots, when it began to veer to the left. He reached for the left throttle to add power to regain control of the aircraft, however the flight instructor’s hands remained on the throttles. The airplane continued to roll to the left and the pilot was able to level the wings just prior to hitting trees. After it hit the ground, the airplane caught fire.

Probable cause: The flight instructor’s initiation of a simulated single engine scenario at or below the airplane’s minimum single engine control speed, resulting in a loss of airplane control. Contributing to the accident was the flight instructor’s failure to set full engine power during the takeoff roll and the flight instructor’s lack of recent experience in the airplane make and model.

For more information: NTSB Identification: ERA10LA302



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