We all know the statistics
Do we? I’m sure I have never seen any actual statistics about this. The most frequent failure mode of an engine in a GA aircraft is running out of fuel (in which an extra engine won’t do you much good), but other than that, I have not seen real statistics. (I have seen some quasi statistics from Cirrus showing how many the chute has “saved”, but noting real).
Also, we will soon see lots of SET in commercial scheduled passenger flight. The statistics there from the US does not show any significant added risk at all compared with a twin. So I have read, but I have not actually seen the statistics. Funny thing, in Norway this Operation Directive came a few days ago about achieving the necessary safety for scheduled commercial passenger flights. It must be seen in relation to the resent SET ting, for which it has been some discussions locally. Many SET are non pressurized, and the OD requires pressurization on all commercial scheduled passenger flights. Right or wrong, I don’t know, haven’t seen any actual statistics about that either, but obviously the demand comes from the pilots themselves (Widerøe pilots). I am sure a pressurized cabin will decrease the stress level for the pilots, and make life easier in general, which is a good thing, but will it actually increase passenger safety? Only statistics can show that, and the statistics from the US include both pressurized and non pressurized aircraft, I would assume. But the US is large, and only Alaska is similar to Norway regarding terrain and weather, and there are lots of weather related accidents in Alaska, as well as weather related delays, very few in Norway where we use pressurized cabins.
Then there is the number of moving parts in an engine. They say a IC engine has thousands of moving parts. Which is strange. Counting the number of parts for the VW engine in my Onex, that I have built myself, I come to less than hundred, about 80. A Lycoming with magnetos, turbo etc probably have a couple of hundred. My next project will be electric, then I will essentially have one single moving part. The failure rate of one single moving part must be incredibly much less than the failure rate of 2*200 moving parts. At least a factor 400. But we must also add to this, the much less violent life that single part has compared with any of those in an IC engine.
Nobody is going to stick with flying for very long if every flight brings stress and discomfort
There is certainly a tendence for, ahem, “older” pilots to be more risk averse (disclaimer: I will be 60 next year )
Also airline pilots – well, those few who fly IFR/GA at all – tend to prefer twins.
I can understand this.
However I would not get into most SEPs I see around the place even if you paid me for it. And
Fuel pressure at the very bottom of the green arc etc
is just completely and totally outrageous and such a plane should be fixed. I had loads of this crap during my PPL training, with a now-defunct outfit operating PA38s. They held an AOC too… the [in]famous G-OMAR… I walked out of there (wasting some 20hrs of PPL training) because I didn’t think it was safe.
So there are SEPs and there are SEPs.
Mine is maintained to a money-no-object zero-defect standard and I would never depart with “Fuel pressure at the very bottom of the green arc” etc notwithstanding all kinds of dodgy practices in the PPL/ATPL training scene (which I could fill threads with just from what I have seen).
Le Sving I think the Canadians did an exhaustive study when the RCMP and other government agencies were switching to PC12s. It isn’t that SET are safer, the conclusion was they are as safe as the Twin turboprops….and this is from the land of the Twotter.
Of course, this was the usual rental beater. I can assure you that the rentals here are almost as bad as in the UK, although I have yet to see an equivalent to old faithful G-BIJV, which had over 13000hrs when I left her and she’s still flying (so must have closer to $16-20K hours by now)! Shares in well kept after planes and privately owned aircraft are of course much better. But they’re hard to just rent or get to fly, obviously.
I have a lot of friends who own singles, and I’d feel a lot better getting a ride up to Stockton in theirs, than renting a beater single. I would consider that. Or, I would also consider buying really slow landing, STOL, plane. Like a Cub or a Husky with tundra wheels is something I could see myself owning as I get older, just for fun flying. But to fly a Cub from LA to Stockton would take the better part of a day. No going there and coming back the same day unless you do nothing but flying….
Le Sving I think the Canadians did an exhaustive study when the RCMP and other government agencies were switching to PC12s. It isn’t that SET are safer, the conclusion was they are as safe as the Twin turboprops
Yes, as safe as.
When ever I fly a SEP at night I always remind my self that the most likely thing to go wrong is in fact me.
Well I’ve just got back from flying 43 Hrs coast to coast (almost – actually Arizona to Savannah and back) in 12 days in a rented 172SP so your post resonates with me! And actually I decided at some stage during my flight that the engine was a bit ‘buzzy’, but that’s compared with my very smooth Warrior back in England. And long flights can have you imagining all sorts of things, which usually have vanished by the time of the next flight.
So is flying a single over hostile terrain reckless? If there are any doubts about the aircraft, then I think probably. The self same Warrior developed a tendency to run rough during carb heat, which despite engineer assurances to the contrary turned out to have a real cause in a cracked exhaust. And I did indeed abandon a North Sea crossing because of it.
There’s no law of nature that says rental aircraft are inherently more dangerous. On the contrary, their high utilisation means that problems are likely to be dealt with, in contrast with some low utilisation private aircraft. Despite that, I’ve had every permutation of warning lights in rented 172’s, including the oil warning light, over the desert, in the winter. So is SE flying over hostile terrain acceptable? To me, yes. But then I can’t afford a twin. Or a parachute.
To me, yes. But then I can’t afford a twin.
Interesting comment, and I think very salient. If cost was not a factor how many pilots would prefer to fly a single over a twin? A twin is more fun to fly, likely to perform better, be more pleasant in turbulence and (in the right hands) safer.
I dont care what anyone says long sea crossings as one example hasnt every pilot thought about the engine and imagined an odd noise or two?
I agree that the main thought process is emotional rather than only risk assessed.
But I hate flying singles over water or at night, so why would I do it?
Also, remember that there is also a utility element to this. I can fly eight people at 180kts in known ice, and they can walk round the cabin and go to the toilet in privacy. These things are very expensive indeed in singles.
Timothy – what are you flying now after LIZZ?