Flying On One

Now that we know and understand what happens when power is lost on one side, let's discuss what to do about it. Here's a list you'll want to commit to memory. You will use this on virtually every training flight.

  • Pitch - Immediately pitch for Vyse (blue line)
  • Power - All power controls towards maximum power
  • Cleanup - Raise gear and flaps
  • Identify - "Dead foot, dead engine"
  • Verify - Slowly pull the throttle back for the dead engine while discerning any changes.
  • Feather - Feather the propeller of the dead engine by pulling the propeller control into the feather detent
  • Zero Sideslip - Establish the zero sideslip flight condition

Once one engine fails, we need to establish Vyse (best rate of climb one engine operative) as quickly as possible and hold that speed (or above if able to maintain altitude) the remainder of the flight.

As noted above, once we detect a failure, put all the engine controls (propellers, throttles, mixtures) full forward. It is entirely possible this will solve your power problem all by itself. If not, you'll need to continue through the list.

As we discussed on the control page, drag is a major consideration and we must reduce it. If your flaps, landing gear, cowl flaps, etc are down, bring them up to reduce drag. Your airplane will thank you.

Identifying the dead engine isn't particularly difficult, usually, but when in the heat of the moment it is easy to misidentify. The most common identification method is "Dead foot, dead engine" meaning the foot you are not using to maintain directional control with the rudder corresponds to the inoperative engine. So if the right engine fails, the airplane yaws to the right, you use your left foot on the left rudder to straighten it out, and your right foot is doing nothing ("dead"). That dead right foot means you have a dead right engine.

Now we need to verify we identified the proper engine. Slowly pull the throttle back for the dead engine. Listen and feel for any changes in power, performance, or control - you should detect no changes if you have identified the correct engine.

Finally, let's feather the dead engine. To feather the engine, pull the propeller control full aft into the feather detent. As you are pulling it, use the propeller control as an additional tool to verify you're feathering the correct (dead) engine - it is a real bummer to feather your only working engine, so I do not recommend it. If you discern no changes, pull it back completely to feather.

Zero Sideslip
Finally, we need to establish the zero sideslip condition. Every airplane is a little different, but generally this involves deflecting the ball slightly towards the operating engine and banking slightly into it as well.

In the Baron, this condition is established with approximately a 3/4 ball deflection and a bank of 2.5° toward the good engine. One way to remember the bank is the phrase "Raise the dead".