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Welcome to our forums the scene of the crash (The second engine in a twin takes you to...)

I get constantly irritated by know-it-all SEP pilots who tell anyone who will listen that the second engine in a twin is there “to take you to the scene of the crash.”

This is only said, of course, by people who know nothing about what they are talking about, parroting what their equally ill-informed instructor has passed down through the generations.

I happened across a video of someone dealing with an engine failure in a twin piston that I thought worth sharing, to show just how exactly the opposite is true:

EGKB Biggin Hill

Well said. A couple of years ago I did my EASA MEP conversion on a P2006T – that’s right, twin Rotax. It climbed away fine (several times) from missed asymmetric approaches at around 200 fpm, and that was on a hot day in Sicily. Gear up, flaps up, hold the blue line. At least it was climbing! You just have to stay on top of your game, so annual recurrent training is good. The piston twin is not dead – far from it, as long as you are willing to pay for the avgas

Last Edited by NeilC at 30 Dec 14:58

I’m not as calm as this guy even when everything’s in the green

Last Edited by Silvaire at 30 Dec 15:17

Yes. I would say that there is an optimal level of stimulation/arousal, which is a little higher during an emergency than normal, and it did seem to me that he may have been a little below that optimal level.

But you can’t argue with any of his decisions or the outcome. Maybe he could have declared the emergency, rather than letting ATC do it for him, but again, it made no difference to the outcome.

The ATCO was right on his game, was he not!?

EGKB Biggin Hill

I agree, Approach was great, and they had a couple of people helping.

The pilot did an admirable job. I think his apparent calmness is probably the result of experience, enough power with one engine, plus a southern accent (KMMI is in Tennessee)

Timothy wrote:

irritated by know-it-all SEP pilots who tell anyone who will listen that the second engine in a twin is there “to take you to the scene of the crash

Don’t be irritated, instead have mercy. We SEP’s are clearly just envious or scared of loosing our engine, that’s why we keep parroting the old saying.

EKRK, Denmark

I’ve successfully ‘not crashed’ five times in an MEP. On three of those occasions the scenario was much like the video – a non-event. However, the other two most certainly had the possibility of a ‘crash’.

No.1 – DA42 Intentional shutdown of engine as part of MEP training detail. Engine wouldn’t restart and failed to re-feather. Resultant 150ft/min drift down was enough to get us back to base.

No. 2 – PA31-350 engine failure after take-off. OAT 48 deg Celcius, aircraft 200lbs short of 7000lbs MTOW. All immediate actions completed very rapidly (by co-pilot). We were airborne at about the 6000ft point on a 12000ft runway and the engine ceased producing any form of noticeable power at about 8000ft/250ft agl; we continued as per the departure brief. By the time the aircraft was clean we had descended to about 70-100ft agl and at that point I seriously considered dropping the aircraft back onto the remaining runway. We achieved a climb rate of about 30-40ft/min and diverted to another airfield some 25nm away on our departure track having decided to maintain straight ahead until we achieved a sensible altitude.

I suppose my point is that an engine failure in a twin can be a complete non-event or it could be a controlled crash. The important bit is planning ahead (departure brief, or equivalent) and not getting focussed on a particular course of action. Sometimes you need to be on your game and fully in tune with what the aircraft is telling you, but that is no different to handling an EFATO in an SEP in the first 500-1000ft after take-off. Most of the asymmetric crashes I’m aware of have occurred because the pilot has been about 20 seconds behind the aircraft and, because of poorly reinforced training, has not considered the option of a managed forced landing.

Fly safely
Various UK. Operate throughout Europe and Middle East, United Kingdom

I can think of three reasons MEP instructors are sceptical of ME Piston. First, the accident rate both fatal and serious injury per 100,000 hours is higher than SEP, and several magnitudes higher compared to the safety of the C-172, PA28 -161/181 and DA40. Secondly, any accident in an asymmetric condition has 80% plus fatality rate. Thirdly, we are still getting instructional fatalities during asymmetric training, several decades after the FAA introduced the concept of Vsse (single engine safety demonstration speed). The PA-30, PA44, C310, BE55 and BE76 all guilty as charged, with some types enjoying Vmc training fatalities in low triple figures. The PA34-200 may be immune due to low power and counter rotating engines.

The average MEP is not that well maintained, probably now beyond its design life span (you just need to check rivets on most wings to either see chronic replacement or, more illuminating to the student, loose or stretched), and due to old systems and complexity is much more prone to mechanical incidents/equipment malfunction.

We also have the condition in EASA of a minimum training of 6 hours which just about gets zero-to-hero students to test standard. In the USA the MEP is a more realistic 10-15 hours.

A well maintained SEP or SET has made the MEP virtually obsolete except in training.

Oxford (EGTK)

I have never been PIC of a light twin so my question is – I see no, or very little, rudder unput looking at the pilots legs. Why would this be? I appreciate he will have a lot of rudder input by setting the rudder trim but does that equate to the rudder being on the stops so aileron is the only remaining direction control? Apologies if a silly question!

UK, United Kingdom

Given the fatality rate following an engine failure for MEPs is more than twice that of SEPs, isn’t the saying demonstrably true?

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