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Pilots Thought of the Week

17 November 2022 - Thought of the Week #28 - Cycling the Prop
  • This week’s 60 second thought is about checking the propeller control during run up. Thank so Maj Rafael Paiva who sent this topic in. My pilots (myself included) originally learned to cycle the propeller 3 times during the run up. When I was taught, it was explained that you are checking 3 things (MP increase, RPM decrease, Oil Pressure constant), so you should cycle 3 times. Over many years, I’ve heard countless analyses arguing one thing or another, but based on my research, I’ve largely concluded: The only purposes of cycling the prop during run up are to 1) ensure warm oil is available in the governor, and 2) ensure the mechanism works. You can do this typically with one cycle of the propeller unless it is incredibly cold outside. Exercising the propeller additional times only introduces additional wear & tear on the mechanism without sufficient benefit. Although, this is true of our C182 / 206, GA8 aircraft, as other aircraft might have different prop management systems. I currently teach and evaluate folks to evaluate the propeller once. Next time you are in the midst of a run up, checking your propeller (right after you used the engine analytics to verify mag integrity of course), consider why you would be exercising it more than once, if that is your habit. As always, happy to hear alternate feedback, if I’m missing something that justifies doing more that “one pull” of the prop.
24 October 2022 - Thought of the Week #27 - Emergency Mnemonics
  • One issue I often see on flight evaluations (and practices) is a lack of structure during an emergency engine out demonstration. Often, after I reduce the throttle, I’ll get someone who gets me to best glide and looks for a place to land. If they find a good place to land, they stop running the emergency. This is really prominent if they are near an airport or think they can make a runway. It drives me bonkers and when I ask why they didn’t try to restart the engine (even if you can make a runway – wouldn’t it be better if you can get the engine restarted). Meanwhile, they never (simulated) communicated with anyone or prepared for emergency landing or anything else, short of saying “oh—there is a runway”. Typically this goes back to lack of training an entire emergency procedure for every emergency and I really stress an emergency mnemonic. That way, you work the ENTIRE emergency…. Beyond just finding a place to land. There are many of them out there. Here are 2 that I like. If you don’t have one that you use, commit, THIS WEEK, to learning one of them: ABCCS (pronounced a,b,cees) A – airspeed – pitch for best airspeed B – best field – find a place to land C – checklist – run memorized restart and checklist items for restart C – communicate – tell someone something S – secure for landing – run checklist to prepare for emergency landing (usually includes things like turning off master and fuel right before landing) PANICS P – Pull carb heat (most common reason for a carb heat plane to lose engine is carb ice) A – aviate – aviate for best glide speed N – navigate – find a place to land I – Inspect – run checklists and inspect the aircraft systems to try and restart C – communicate – tell someone something S – secure for landing – run checklist to prepare for emergency landing I don’t really care what mnemonic is used….but practice EVERY SINGLE EMERGENCY by running the ENTIRE emergency procedure including talking to someone and simulate running the emergency landing checklist. If the emergency hits one day, you will be so thankful that you ran the ENTIRE procedure every time because it will become like clockwork. I even encourage my commercial candidates on the 180 degree spot landing to simulate going through all the steps.
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