Engine Failure

Engine failure on a twin engine aircraft, what is it like? Q & A – Part 4

Questions & Answers – Part 4… it’s here! Have I ever had a turnaround time of less than 25 minutes? What is it like to fly a twin engine plane after an engine failure? Can planes land automatically?  And do you need to have experience with an airport before flying there? I received these questions per email and Instagram and today I will answer them. Do you have a question of your own? Please use the contact form on my website and perhaps your question is answered in Questions & Articles – Part 5!

 Alexander – Have you had a turnaround time of less than 25 minutes?

I definitely did! However, a turnaround time of less than 25 minutes is a challenge with a B737. It usually takes a lot of time to disembark and board all of those passengers. Don’t forget about the refueling either.. A Boeing 737-800 can take a lot of fuel. Sometimes it happens that refueling isn’t necessary, passengers are on time, the flight is not fully booked and the ground staff is doing an excellent job. In those cases you might be able to have a shorter turnaround time. My record is between 15 and 20 minutes. Some aircrafts can turnaround in a matter of minutes (a private jet for example).

 Dan – What is it like to fly a twin engine plane with just one working engine?  

Luckily engine failures are not that common.  However, if an engine failure occurs, proper and immediate action is required by the flight crew. That is why every pilot is trained extensively to deal with an engine failure.  Training starts during the theoretical phase, you learn about the differences of all engines and how they perform. During flight training you learn how to fly a multi engine piston aircraft. The instructor will take you through the basics and he or she will demonstrate how the aircraft behaves when one of the engines runs at a lower speed than the other (the aircraft begins to yaw and bank). A demonstration of an idling or shutdown engine usually follows.

It’s a weird sensation when experiencing it the first time. You definitely feel more comfortable when the propellors are turning like they are supposed to 😉 After some training you realize that it’s really not hard to deal with a failure. You just need to be properly trained. That’s also one of the reason why every commercial pilot needs to go to a simulator every 6 months. On a side note: it’s a lot harder to fly a propellor driven aircraft with an engine failure than a jet engine aircraft. 

  @avardy12 – Can planes land automatically? (picture)

Yes they can! Not all of them though… and even if the aircraft is able to land automatically the airport also needs to have equipement to enable an aircraft to land by itself. Besides the aircraft and the equipment on the ground the weather needs to be within certain limitations as well. Most autopilot systems are not able to perform an automatic landing in severe crosswind conditions. Basically pilots only use the auto land feature in bad visibility conditions or if the company they work for demands that most landings are done by the auto pilot.  

⇒  Alexander – Do you need to have experience with an airport before flying there? 

In general, no. But there are exceptions… Pilots are responsible to brief themselves about airports, especially if they have never been there. There are also some airports that are off limits to pilots that haven’t completed special training. This is the case for some airports in the alps since weather conditions can change rapidly and there is high terrain everywhere. Samedan is one of those airports that requires commercial pilots to complete special training before going there. Special training can be completed by electronic briefings, exams and simulator training.

Thats it for now. Stay tuned for more!

Comments? Please don’t hesitate to leave one below… And if you have a question of your own, use the contact form and perhaps it will be your question that is answered in the next Questions & Answers article 😉 Be sure to read up on Q&A – Part 1 , Q&A – Part 2 & Q&A – Part 3

8 thoughts on “Engine failure on a twin engine aircraft, what is it like? Q & A – Part 4

    1. It depends. A public transport airplane can fly like a glider in case of total loss of thrust. There is a good chance to reach an airport without crashing the plane.

  1. Thank you for your videos, they are really interesting. I have visited Madeira on holiday several times and had a go-around once, and the flight was delayed over 24 hours another time due to wind.

    1. Hi John, I am glad you like my videos! Madeira is definitely one of those airports affected by high winds. Never been there though.. only saw it in the simulator thus far.

    1. Hello David, None so far.. I heard that go-arounds happen quite often in Madeira due to severe crosswind conditions. Never been there though… There are a lot of videos about crosswind landings and go-arounds in Madeira, quite interesting! Recently a lot of tourists go trapped there because the aircrafts were unable to land.

  2. Thank You very much to You Michelle. You are a great person and I appreicate your sincere towards to us.So Your behaviour is so loyal and precious and by your sharings We learn much a bout Pilot’s Life and information about Aviation. I asked my Questions to You at the Contact Form. Kindly Regards. Good Luck to You bothy in your Flight Career and in your life apart from flying.

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