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My nerves can't take single engine flight anymore...

Backstory: I had done my IR proficiency on this very plane a few days before. On our very last approach the engine ran rough. We’d kept the booster pump on just because the fuel pressure was barely in the green. Turned that off and and it seemed to get a little better. But I couldn’t wait to get on the ground as it was night by then.

About two months ago I rented a Cutlass RG from the local flight school to go up to see progress on my plane in the shop. LA to Stockton and back, so a pretty good cross country of 6 hrs in total. This is probably the first time I’ve flown SE alone in about 6 years, maybe even longer.

In any case – to my mind, this engine didn’t run very smooth. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m unaccustomed to it, or that it’s a 4 banger, or that the prop is unbalanced, or what. It just runs rough and it feels like it rather wouldn’t. Fuel pressure at the very bottom of the green arc etc. In any case, as you depart LA for the north you have all all these mountains you need to cross, and with pretty slim chances of putting her down anywhere.

And it just got to me.

My palms were sweating, heart rate up, on the alert at all times, listening for any little difference in sound from the engine. Was that a burning smell I felt? At 9000ft an engine fire has a long time to crisp you right over before you get to the ground. Did engine stumble a bit? Doesn’t it sound different? Sure does, right? If it fails here over the mountains, I’m screwed etc… On and on as your mind plays its tricks on you. And when the vent tube at top of windscreen popped out by itself and rushed air in, I literally jumped in my seat!

Haha, what a wuss I am, I couldn’t help thinking. But the whole trip was more or less uncomfortable. Even after clearing the mountains and being over the flatlands in Central Valley, where there’s tons of emergency landing spots, I kept worrying about my return to LA when it was gonna quit over high density populated area!

This is not intended as a single vs. twin debate. We all know the statistics. But, just personal comfortability. Nobody is going to stick with flying for very long if every flight brings stress and discomfort. And since there’s no way of fixing how a mind plays tricks on you, I think I’ll just have to continue to go broke on twins for my own peace of mind…

Last Edited by AdamFrisch at 03 Jun 15:41

I’m just back from a trip with over 30 hours flying in a Cirrus, sometimes IMC, and most of the time over inhospitable terrain (Norway, Sweden – even when it looks flat there are plenty of rocks or forests). Without a parachute, I would have felt much more uncomfortable! But flying over water when you know it’s 7 degrees cold also does the same to you. Didn’t the engine just get rougher? When are we going to be back in glide range to the shore according to Skydemon? Are there any ships to be seen down there? Even though you know that if your engine worked well on takeoff and climb, and all indications are normal, the chances are really slim that it will fail catastrophically just then.

One day you might come to agree to my “always have a plan B” motto.
Mind you, flying a twin is not a plan B against all failure modes – there’s too many of them.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

I well remember the day when my day job was flying HS125 and I was about to take-off in my C172 Hawk XP.

I have one engine, one alternator, one vacuum pump, one pilot. If any of these things happened in the jet, I would land, possibly on a full emergency. Yet here am I about to take-off.

I have owned twins ever since ;-)

EGKB Biggin Hill

Jan_Olieslagers wrote:

Mind you, flying a twin is not a plan B against all failure modes – there’s too many of them.

Maybe. But almost none of these failures is going to kill you in a twin.

EDDS - Stuttgart

I’m saving up for a DA42 as well….which is funny because the guy I bought my Mooney from was selling it to buy one…

Last Edited by AnthonyQ at 03 Jun 17:20
EGPD / OMDW / YPJT, United Kingdom

DA42’s seem like the ideal Euro plane. Jet A1 and below 2000kg (I think). Funnily enough, I couldn’t afford the entry cost of one, but I could the turbine… But as the first generation DA42 gets a little older, prices will keep coming down. I’d also be interested in the P2006T mogas capable plane if I still lived in Europe. It’s a little slow, but has pretty sweet short field capability. They’re also very frugal, and the Rotaxes are cheap to maintain and overhaul. But no de-ice, which the DA42 can have.

I think your fear is part of a huge rationalization effort! If you weren’t frightened you’d question the sense of owning a turbine! A couple weeks ago I flew a 43 year old single over the Irish Sea, English Channel, and Danish and Swedish fjords and forests, feeling apprehensive but not unduly so. You can bet I’d have been far more nervous if I could afford a twin!

Tököl LHTL

WhiskeyPapa wrote:

You can bet I’d have been far more nervous if I could afford a twin!

Because of the increased cost?

No! Because I could afford to avoid the risks of SEP! So feeling fear would be an option and would help rationalize the ridiculous amount of money spent on upgraded capability. My point is that if I could afford a twin and flew a single I’d be nervous—like you.

Last Edited by WhiskeyPapa at 03 Jun 18:04
Tököl LHTL
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