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After reading an opinion of J. Mac McClellan in the Feb Flying issue claiming that light twins are safer than singles, I quickly submitted an opposing opinion (see letter below). Flying chose not to publish my letter, but the May issue did include pseudo-statistical arguments from R. Collins to support McClellan's opinion. Regarding the pseudo-statistical arguments, suffice it to say that, while the exposure data needed for quantitative risk comparisons simply do not exist (due to logistical obstacles in getting valid information), the physics speaks for itself. If this pattern of self-serving misinformation continues in Flying magazine, I'll terminate the subscription and stick to AOPA Pilot for less biased light aviation reading.
The unpublished letter I submitted to Flying was this:
Safety of Twins versus Singles
As the owner and pilot of an extremely efficient high-performance single engine aircraft (Mooney 231 with intercooler, wastegate, speed brakes, prop heat, and other mods), I must disagree with J. Mac McClellanâ€™s opinion in the Feb â€™03 issue of Flying that â€œâ€¦the pilot flying a high-performance single is every bit as risky as the pilot of the twin.â€ Although a lack of sufficient exposure data impedes our ability to compare aviation accident risks, physical facts favor the high-performance single over the twin: (1) with two engines, the twin has twice the chance of an engine or propeller failure as the single; (2) upon loss of an engine, the single becomes a stable â€" but heavy â€" â€œglider,â€ while the twin becomes an extremely unstable â€" and heavier â€" â€œmotorized glider;â€ (3) with greater mass and drag, the twin has higher stall and flare speeds and much more energy to dissipate or absorb in a crash landing; (4) with its greater fuel burn and typical fuel load, the twin poses a greater fire hazard in a crash landing. In physics, there is no free lunch. The spacious comfort and load capacity of the light twin comes at a price that is and should continue to be paid by twin owners and pilots without subsidization by high-performance single owners and pilots.
1 Feb 2003
Letter submitted to Flying magazine.
C. Craig Morris, Ph.D.
Single Vs Twin
Will this myth ever end?
I appreciate the fine work of accomplished people like the editors of Flying magazine. However, I expect journalists use their position to see that all sides of controversial issues are heard. We can't accept assertions about aviation safety on faith. People need to hear all sides so they can draw their own conclusions. Maybe this forum will help.
The major problem with light twins was again revealed in a recent accident involving an instructor and student attempting a simulated single engine full stop landing in a light twin. Neither directional control nor airspeed could be maintained on one engine, so both instructor and student died in a fireball.
Now if an instructor and multi-engine student couldn't do it during routine training, what makes any other pilot think he could? Perhaps it's that, as the accomplished people we superpilots are, we think "I wouldn't have tried it, but even if I had, I would have kept the airspeed up, etc, etc." The real myth lies in such thinking.
The NTSB report, downloaded from http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20030207X00185&key=1
is copied below:
NTSB Identification: LAX03FA078
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 30, 2003 in LANCASTER, CA
Aircraft: Beech D-95A, registration: N5639S
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On January 30, 2003, at 1937 Pacific standard time, a Beech D-95A, N5639S, collided with a hangar during an aborted landing at William J. Fox Field (WJF), Lancaster, California. Barnes Aviation was operating the rental airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI) pilot and the private pilot undergoing multiengine instruction (PUI) sustained fatal injuries. The airplane and a stationary, unoccupied airplane in the hangar were destroyed. The local instructional flight departed WJF about 1830. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
The Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) reviewed a copy of recorded radio communications at the WJF air traffic control tower (ATCT). The flight crew entered the traffic pattern and completed one touch-and-go landing. The crew requested and was cleared for a simulated single engine full stop landing on runway 24.
The IIC interviewed the local controller in the ATCT. The controller thought the touch-and-go landing was unremarkable. On the full stop approach, he thought the airplane made a short approach. The airplane looked like it was low and could possibly land short of the runway; the wings were rocking. As the airplane approached the end of the runway it began to veer to the left (from the flight crew's perspective).
The controller observed the airplane as it continued to drift left and it appeared to be heading towards the ATCT. The airplane stayed low to the ground, but the controller thought the flight crew was attempting to climb. The wing lights were continuously rocking, and the airplane continued to drift left. The bank angle increased sharply to the left, and then hangars blocked the controller's view. He estimated the airplane was 1,500 feet from the approach end of the runway. He observed a fireball and alerted rescue crews.
Hello everybody, first post.
I don't know about general aviation, but I flew many single and twin-engined propeller and jet trainers, fighters and bombers. I would take a twin over a single any time.
I flew singles for 15 years, and have flown twins for the last 15 years. When I was flying singles I was very much like Craig. I told anyone that would listen that there was no good reason to fly a twin. You know the arguments.... they are dangerous, cost more to operate, burn more fuel and cost more to own in general. I was just as strident as Craig in my assertions. But eventually, I got so nervous flying a single in IMC, over water, over the mountains, and at night, that flying wasn't fun anymore. I made the leap and bought a Baron, and I have never looked back. Yes it does take continuous training and proficiency to operate safely, but I accept that responsibility willingly. For me, the security offered by that extra engine is priceless in those circumstances where an engine failure in a single would almost certainly be fatal. Yes, you are twice as likely to have an engine failure in a twin. But the possibility of having a double engine failure is infintesimally small. That is what matters in the circumstances that I refer to.
Sorry if I'm strident, but it wasn't me telling anyone who would listen, or read the Feb ''03 Flying issue, that "the pilot of the high performance single is every bit as risky as the pilot of the twin." In a significant number of engine failures, the cause is fuel exhaustion, which would you know stop both engines in the twin.
I'd suggest a comparison of percentage of fuel exhaustion accidents that result in fatalities for light twins versus HP singles - my guess is the difference is negligible, but leans in favor of the single. I'd also suggest a comparison of the percentage of accidents that result in fatalities for light twins versus HP singles when there is a mechanical failure of exactly one engine during takeoff, cruise, or landing - my guess is the difference now is bigger, and favors the single. Of course, someone will say that you don't hear from the twin pilots who safely landed on one engine, to which I would add, nor necessarily from the single pilots who landed safely on no engines.
Doing such comparisons right is not easy, because other coincidental factors may vary along with the ones we are interested in, but doing it right is exactly what is required before we regard such an assertion as fact. That's all I'm saying in this forum.
I am an Air Force A-10 pilot who is starting to get back into civil aviation after an 18 break to fly jets. Perhaps I can add my two cents to the twin vs single debate. With the exception of the T-6 and the F-16, all USAF trainer/fighter aircraft are twin engine. We have long realized the danger of an engine failure at a critical phase of flight (read takeoff to late to abort and on final approach fully configured). And even if the engine failure occurs at more benign phase of flight, bringing one home single engine carries its own risks. The USAF has always had special training requirements to increase/maintain pilot proficiency. We hammer engine failure emergency training from day-one of pilot training, all checkrides evaluate single engine approaches and landings, all pilots have numerous required training events on single engine failures both in the aircraft and in monthly simulator training and simulator checkrides. I would estimate that the average A-10 pilot trains to approximately 70-100 engine failures per year. The training itself poses risks, hence we limit single engine training in the actual aircraft to SSE approaches in day, VMC. We save the real hairy ones for the simulator. Its all about training, pure and simple, lots of it and continuously, with smart limits on how you train to keep the cure from becoming worse than the problem.
Thank you. That was more like a couple of bucks'worth!
Training is the issue. A hell of a lot of accidents occur during training for emergencies when they become the real thing. It would be ironic if the insurance company requirements to log heavy twin training, along with the standard training emphasis on emergencies, actually increased the accident rate. Another may have just occurred on 17 April - the preliminary NTSB report is at
I am honestly an unbiased observer watching Dr. Morris'argue his position as I am not a high performance single or twin engine driver. However, I thought it was interesting, and of course sad, to read in my AIN newsletter today this story:
Quest Diagnostics TBM 700 Crashes, Killing Pilot
The pilot was killed when his TBM 700 turboprop single hit a 38-foot telephone pole, then burst into flames a half mile short of Runway 18 at Mobile Downtown Airport, Ala., at 8:10 p.m. last Thursday. VMC prevailed at the time. According to the Mobile tower controller, the pilot (who was the sole person on board) reported that he had a â€œrunaway engineâ€ and subsequently said he was shutting down the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-64.
I think you will be unable to present a valid argument for the superiority of any piston engine against the reliability record of the PT6 family, but as we see they break, too. Assuming money is not a limiting factor, for safety I'd choose a turbo-prop over a piston, single or twin, anyday. But the next step down on the desirability pecking order would have to be a piston twin.
No doubt that people crash pretty much anything that flies, whether due to engine trouble or sheer incompetence - NTSB files are full of such cases. What's curious about this turboprop example is the pilot's apparent choice to shut down the engine a little prematurely, an issue that probably does support the insurance companies'bid to require extensive training and experience for pilots of turboprops. Not being a turbo driver, prefering lighter and less expensive aircraft with lower mass gross, stall speed, and fuel load, I can't say what alternatives the pilot had, but given his proximity to a field, I would speculate that had he delayed shutdown for 30 sec or so, he'd have made the field - a training issue.
The entire argument over single vs twin safety depends largely on context. The capable, normally aspirated twin operating at mostly sea level or at a few thousand feet density altitude is much safer providing the pilot stays current and well trained. The analogy of the twin being a unstable glider is simply not true unless both engines fail at once, a very unlikely occurance. Even with both engines out it is no less stable than a single, it is simply a glider that kept at the proper airspeed will handle just like the single. This comparison was a bit apples to oranges.
Not all, but most twins can fly and climb well and stable on one engine. Mac flies a Baron with IO-550 engines and it performs very well on one engine so if this is his reference he is absolutely right. The pilot flying an Apache out of Teluride would be in a different situation if he lost an engine on takeoff. This could be true with underpowered aircraft even at sea level or slightly above. At some point the Baron or any other light twin runs up against it's perfomance limitations and you have essentially a single engine aircraft on takeoff. Any failure of one engine on takeoff under these circumstances would mandate chopping power on the good engine as well and gliding straight ahead for landing as you would in a single.
Turbocharged twins can help with the power issues at density altitude but do little for the other aerodynamic problems associated with lift so it becomes a little more of a crapshoot when operating at the aircrafts limitations. Here again training becomes important and proper pre-takeoff planning and decision making come into play big time.
Barry Schiff wrote a very good article in this month's AOPA regarding drift down and some of the distinct advantages of a twin and dispelling some myths about them.
I have been flying both twins and singles, low performance, high performance etc for 35 years and enjoy all of them. I currently own a Baron with IO 520 engines and find it to be very capable of flying well and climbing well on one engine. I bought it after owning several high performance singles and one other Baron for a number of years and would not go back to a single for my flying needs.
I have lost an engine only once in a twin and never in a single and it was an Apache right after takeoff loaded lightly. The aircraft was very manageable and was brought around and landed normally. Yes you have twice the chance of losing one in a twin but no reports are filed for the landing if it is successful. I certainly would not have had the same fate in a single on that particular day with an engine failure or in the Apache heavily loaded.
Twins are generally more than twice as expensive to maintain with only a 10 to 15 knot gain over the comparable single. I get passed up by Glassairs, Lancairs probably even the Mooney that Mr. Morris flys but I will take the Baron any day over the efficiency of his Mooney.
It all boils down to the Clint Eastwood line "a mans got to know his limitations" well, in this case, a mans got to know his aircrafts limitations.
I think the average twin like a Baron with boots and electric props, dual vacuum, dual alternator etc.. is much safer in weather than even the best equipped piston single. Engine problems enroute do not necessarily mean an immediate landing and can be handled easily provided the pilot is trained properly.
Mr. Morris also has a turbocharged engine that gives an even greater risk for engine or component failure probably making his single at least as vulnerable as the normally aspirated twin. More important than the single/twin issue is the type of flying, terrain, night, mountain etc. This is the criteria that establishes the need for a twin or single.
In any case I am sure this will be discussed for the next 50 years and argued vehemently by each side insisting they are on the right side of the argument.
Nice commentary, with many fine points, though I disagree that the safety or reliability of an intercooled turbo- charged Mooney can be compared to any normally aspirated (non-inline) twin operating today. Again, a twin has twice the chance of an engine failure and the consequent instability which destroys so many twins trying to maneuver, or hold altitude above clouds, mountains, or hangars, on one engine.
Nevertheless, the point about context is well taken, and exactly what makes this single-twin comparison hard. I worry most on takeoffs, at night, and in IMC at low altitudes relative to the terrain and ceiling below. I minimize all such flying and always carry 4 life vests, never fly over big water when it's too cold to survive in it (for me, that means about 75-80 F), and plan altitudes and courses within glide distance of landable airports, highways, fields, or if nothing else, shallow water. For example, I routinely fly from Manassas, VA (HEF) to Sewanee, TN (UOS) to visit family. This route takes me across and down the Appalachian mountains, so I file a route that parallels I81 which lies between ridges in the wide Shenendoa valley most of the way down, maintain at least 5 or 6 thousand feet above the peaks, and take careful note of ceilings, winds, terrain, and weather conditions below. And flying from San Diego, CA to Madison, WI last summer, I maintained FL 230 across the Rockies for a little extra margin. Yes, should I have an engine out during cruise in these situations, I'd probably wish I were in a twin. However, an engine-out is about twice as likely in a twin, so I'm perfectly happy with my single + extra flight planning precautions. Occasionally ATC offers (or assigns without inclination for discussion) a direct routing, which I politely decline, explaining that my planned route considers the terrain and weather. Choosing such routes adds amazingly little distance or time to most flights and is surely advisable for twins, too.
The edge that turbo-charging adds in climb performance, high (density) altitude capability, and speed more than offsets any small increase in the chance in a turbo-related forced landing, very few of which appear in NTSB files, in contrast to other relevant kinds of accidents that we are considering here.
Overall, the issue we began with is whether insurance companies should charge more and expect more (in terms of training and currency) of twin pilots as compared to complex/high-performance single pilots. Insurance companies must consider such factors as occupant capacity (4 versus 6), pilot and aircraft safety records, exposure to weather, and other factors. It would be helpful to hear from someone in the industry about this.
All very fine points. As a student, my opinion is worth bupkus. However, I view things in terms of situational awareness and management. Power failure is power failure, wheather its a single or a twin, fuel exhaustion or not. I venture a guess that fires (engine or otherwise) are rarely the cause of death in aviation accidents. It's the impact with the ground that will kill you. Unless you have a catastrophic engine failure, such as an explosion, that damages the wing to the point it no longer produces lift or disables both engines, a twin will still have power under which to return home. In a single, engine failure for any reason will result in a forced landing.
I think distinguishing high performance singles from the lowliest cessnas and turbocharged King Airs from the oldest of the Lodestars kind of misses the point. Bells and whistles are just extra weight if they don't work.
Here we go again, 16 June 2003, same story - see the NTSB report pasted below (downloaded a few minutes ago from http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20030620X00918&key=1).
The twin seems to have had an engine problem on takeoff, but the commercial pilot continued the takeoff, tried to maneuver, and stalled, with two souls and the plane lost. Flying a plane, in an emergency or not, boils down to energy management - as R. Collins puts it in the latest Flying issue. If an engine was running rough on takeoff from an 8000' runway, there was plenty of time and distance to keep that plane on the ground, but the pilot apparently tried to fly anyway, whereupon the energy became instantly unmanageable and fatal. Though it's easy to blame the pilot, it's much harder to admit that any one of us might have found ourselves making the same incorrect choice under the same unknowable circumstances that caused this pilot to do it - with the same inevitable consequences of energy mismanagment.
What exactly should one do to stop an airplane at rotation speed anyway? Obviously you must cut power, in fact, I'd (hopefully) pull the mixture, cutoff the master switch, and have a passenger crack the door open, perhaps with the fire extinguisher. Now what? Should I pump the brakes, like in a car, or just stand up on them? I'd throw up the speed brakes, but what about flaps? Would they assist or hinder a fast decceleration? I'm betting hinder by taking weight off the mains, but I'm no engineer and haven't experimented to find out (nor do I plan to!). How about an intentional ground loop or "bootleg" if rough terrain is rapidly getting larger in the windscreen? Has anyone ever trained for this - I haven't, but I know of other similar fatal accidents involving both singles and twins. Such training could make that split-second decision to abort takeoff easier to make, I think.
NTSB Identification: ATL03FA107
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 16, 2003 in Augusta, GA
Aircraft: Piper PA-31P, registration: N577FS
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On June 16, 2003, at 1301 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-31P, N577FS, registered to Gold Wing Transportation, owned by River Cross Investment Corp., and operated by the commercial pilot, collided into a swamp and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Augusta Regional Bush Field, Augusta, Georgia. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with an instrument flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The commercial pilot and passenger received fatal injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed Augusta Regional Bush Field, Augusta, Georgia, about 1258 on June 16, 2003.
The flight departed runway 35 en route to Belmont, Mississippi. During climbout, pilot reported an engine problem, and the air traffic controller cleared the flight to return and land on any runway. No further radio transmissions were received from the pilot. Witnesses observed the airplane flying low north of the airport, and engine noises were described as "erratic" and "skipping." A witness at the airport stated the airplane appeared to use half of the 8,000-foot runway on takeoff roll, and the climbout appeared very flat. The witness stated the airplane was low over the trees off the departure end of the runway, then it pitched up, the right wing dropped, and the airplane dove straight down behind the trees. Witnesses reported hearing an explosion seconds later, followed by thick black smoke.
Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane struck trees and came to rest in a swamp less than a mile from the departure end of runway 35. Wreckage debris and freshly broken trees were scattered approximately 120 feet along an approximate 353 degree magnetic heading from the initial freshly broken tree. The tail section, empennage, and fuselage were found upright and partially submerged in three to four feet of water. The upper cabin and fuselage were consumed by fire. The inboard portions of both wings were found submerged, and the outboard tips of both wings were found separated with leading edge crush damage. The engines were found submerged in close proximity to the fuselage, with the right engine separated and inverted.
Gold Wing Transportation recently sold the airplane. It was purchased by River Cross Investment Corp., and the Federal Aviation Adminstration records did not yet reflect the ownership change.
Not that I've ever been there, but I've discussed this with much higher time instructors and thought it over a great deal. My own thoughts are to yank the throttles, apply constant, firm pressure on the brakes (don't skid), keep it going straight, pull the yoke back as speed bleeds off (avoid lowering the weight on the mains and use the elevator aerodynamic braking), pull the mixtures, kill the fuel, kill the master, kill the mags, and open the door. There probably won't be time for those last items, but the most important is to keep the plane under control. Ride it out through the lights at the end and into the rough if necessary. I'd rather do that at 40 knots and decelerating rather than fall out of the sky at 70, 80, 90+ and accelerating as we come down.
My own training for light twins is that any power anomoly with the gear down is an immediate abort, regardless, and fly it until it stops. Obviously, for "real" twins (over 6,000 lbs), the rules change in relation to being committed to going, but then they have the power to handle those situations.
I'm interested in anyone's thoughts regarding the above since I'm working towards the MEI rating.
While I would mostly agree with your technique for aborting the takeoff your statement of "real" twins over 6000 lbs is off base.
Most "piston" twins that are in the category of over 6000 lbs have worse not better single engine performance.
TC Barons and P Barons are in no-mans land for a long period between rotation and blue line and will not power through the situation if you lose an engine. In addition to this they have a worse single engine climb rate when compared to their normally aspirated brethren the B-55, E-55 and B-58 all of which gross out under 6000 lbs.
This is also true of most heavy piston twins including Beech Duke, piper navajo, chieftan, cessna 340, 401,402,414 421 all having anemic single engine climb rates due to increases in gross weight and not proportionate increases in horsepower. This results in greater percentage loss of available excess power when one engine quits. The remaining engine has to make up for this excess thrust provided by the second engine and it sometimes takes 80,90 or even 100 percent of the remaining engines power to just maintain level flight let alone a climb. This is only if you keep the aircraft aerodynamically clean and at or near zero sideslip.
Turboprops are for the most part another story and perform well on one engine due to the power reserve. The other end of the spectrum is the Apache and many of the training twins that will not climb at all with an engine out at gross weight.
Since you are just now getting your multi rating it is a good time to get a thorough understanding of the proper operation and real dynamics that come into play. There are good books out there that will help you so if you get an instructer that is not really up to the latest techniques of teaching, you can protect yourself from operating a twin the wrong way due to poor teaching technique or old wives tales.
John Eckalbar.. "Flying high performance singles and twins" is one of the good books out there also
The "multi engine pilot" and several others that discuss proper technique and the reasons behind them When I was taught (wrongly) we were told to straighten the airplane out with rudder with wings level with no bank into the good engine. This was the wrong way and there are still teachers teaching this way. Be careful picking an instructor or training facility, especially for multi-engine training, and know for yourself what the proper techniques are so you can keep him or her from doing you more harm than good.
My comment regard "real twins" was a reference to the fact that those less than 6,000 don't have to make it at all, that's all. I'm well aware that the performance of any aircraft should be referenced by the book values provided by the manufacturer, along with a healthy dose of understanding that these were derived using new airplanes by highly qualified test-pilots.
As for the training, I won't embaress my instructor by listing his qualifications here. Suffice to say, that I'm a very skeptical aviation consumer, as I advise my students to be.
Thanks for the thoughts!
The go/no-go decision needs to be made instantaneously and you need to be ready to make it everytime, no matter which twin you fly. I mostly fly a 58 Baron - which doesn't fly too badly on one - but everytime before I line up I chant to myself "Engine failure before 100 knots: close the throttles, abort the take-off and accept any necessary stopping distance".
By the way, I use 100 knots in the Baron which is blue-line (not the POH decision speed). If the runway is long, the decision speed would if anything go up (not down) for me because there is more room to stop. But there's no time to second guess the decision-speed (or the decision) after you've opened the throttles: if you lose one before that speed, you just have to be ready to take a drive through the fence at the far-end if you have to ...
Why do I fly a twin? I've lost a vacuum pump in a single on a dark night once. It wasn't even the engine, it wasn't even in IMC (strictly speaking) and I didn't even need to do a let down ...
We buy twins for what purpose?
The increase in performance and the safety of two engines correct?
While the increase in performance is there the safety in having two engines is not.
Until pilot training is improved to enable the average twin pilot to handle an engine-out correctly, singles will always be safer for the GA pilot.
Ever seen the average GA pilot handle an engine-out, in an aircraft that has literally no climb performance and lots of asymetric thrust?
It aint pretty.
Which brings me to another of my complaints about twins.
Manufacturers of twins MUST be made to design the aircraft to have better engine-out climb performance.
Trying to climb a twin at Vxse or Vyse calls for the pilot to perform every maneuver with great precision in order to see any cimb at all.
While this is fine for test-pilots who have much experience in type, the average GA twin pilot has no where near this amount of experience in type.
Identify and establish which engine has failed, apply correct rudder, feather the failed engine, bank into the good engine, etc etc etc. All of this by the way must be done flawlessly in order to climb.
The average GA pilot who flies not even 200HRS per year doesn't stand a chance in an engine out with today's training syllabus.
We buy twins for the added perfomance and for the added safety of two engines, and two vacuum pumps and two alternators ...
Seems to me that the issues are around training, recency (ie recurrent training) and decision-making. There are plenty of times when engine failure in a twin should put you in a much safer position than in a single: in the cruise, at night and in IMC, for example. But equally there are some times in some twins where (just like in a single) an engine failure and climbing are just not compatible: in those scenarios, we just have to accept that we are flying a heavy and fast glider - which will at least be stable and controllable, so long as we pull back (rather than pushing forward) on both throttles ...
You can backup systems, excluding thrust, much more efficiently with a single. For full duplicity, install a lighted electric horizon top center and put the vacuum-powered unit on the right side of the panel. And/or, add an ultralight artificial horizon for a pocket PC running anywhere map with weather, say. And you could add a backup alternator and/or battery, but why not carry a handheld nav/com and GPS to conserve useful load?
I'll resist the natural temptation to repeat arguments about stability, controllability, mental blockage, etc, and just suggest reading the brief NTSB reports to see what real pilots do in twins and singles when things go wrong. It's only got cases where metal got bent, though, and it would be nice to also have data on cases where it doesn't.
NTSB files are here: http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/month.asp
Maybe the times when the metal didn't get bent were the times when someone lost one (out of two) on a dark and cloudy night in the cruise, and lived to tell the tale ...
I'm thinking that flying in night IMC with asymmetric thrust is like partial panel under the same circumstances - something any pilot can do anytime under the hood with a safety pilot beside him in VMC, but something much harder to do when the adrenaline level spikes and there's no option to rip off the hood to make VMC magically appear. As another pilot I talked to put it, it's like the difference between walking along the top of the curb on your street as compared to walking along the top of the same curb on the edge of the grand canyon. One's easy - the other's not. Just how much does training on the easy task really prepare anyone for the hard task? And, how much extra risk is created by the additional training required to maintain the ability, or the illusion of ability, that one could handle such an emergency? I think technology is the only ultimate solution, ie, technology that can outright prevent the pilot from inadequately controlling a controllable aircraft. Training is better than nothing, but not much, since it has its own high risks.
The type of twin a person is flying is what determines the outcome as much as the training. Losing an engine in a twin at altitude, even in IMC at night, is preferable to losing the engine in a single at night in IMC. The trimming of the airplane and the asymetric thrust are not as dramatic as some posters have made it seem especially in cruise flight. Most aircraft fly very well after being trimmed and handle well. You just have to make sure you do not get behind the power curve especially when landing and dirty.
The training I have undergone has been thorough and as safe as can be practiced in the aircraft. I also train in a simulator for other purposes and the combination is adequate.
The big argument for singles is mostly due to the fear of crashes of twins after takeoff. There are many factors involved beside asymetric thrust and the pilot pulling the wrong lever. Poor training, weather, mechanical, bad judgement etc... Many twins are maintained poorly and some owners wrongly assume they have two engines so one can be tired and ready to give up the ghost and they will not replace it, this truly is poor judgement and invites becoming a statistic. Many times these people maintain singles in the same manner and they quit too.
Many twins are flown at night on cargo runs and bank check distributions and log many more hours in rougher conditions. These statistics will work against a twin but the reality for a qualified pilot is different than the statistics may indicate.
The average pilot flying 100 hrs per year can be plenty safe in a twin provided he maintains the equipment and trains properly.
The great illusion in the argument for single engine safety is the certainty that is put forth that if you fly a twin an engine will absolutely quit at vmc some day. This could happen but the overwhelming majority of failures are likely to happen in cruise where most of your flying is done. The same failure could happen to that single just after takeoff in some mountain strip as well so either way you are up a creek.
I recommend people who criticize the twin for being gutless to fly a good twin and see for themselves how well a engine out situation can be handled. Don't make judgements based on a Apache or a Seminole. Go fly a baron or 310 or something with enough power to make the argument worthwhile. If you are a person who flies solo or usually with one other person and is usually light then a twin can give you huge margins of safety.
The single pilot seems to have extreme confidence in the engine not quitting so why the skepticism when there are two engines. Yes there is twice the chance of a failure with two but if the risk is so great why would you want to fly with one.
Well said! I'd much rather lose one out of two in the cruise at night in IMC than lose one out of one! A twin will fly OK on one in the cruise without a lot of the asymmetic thrust issues you would experience just after take-off, because the speed in the cruise is higher and the power is reduced. In fact, many twins will fly on one in the cruise on autopilot - making one-engine-out night in IMC certainly less than ideal, but not such a scary idea that everyone would "lose it" either.
Statistically, most engine failures in a twin will likely occur in the cruise because that's where most of the time is spent. And those will be the engine failures that don't make it into NTSB reports.
So - let's get sensible. Sure twins can get you into trouble. Sure an engine failure on takeoff is the worst case scenario and (especially in the smaller, under-powered twins) needs to be handled decisively by a well-trained and current pilot. But there just ain't no doubt that there are plenty of times when losing one in a twin - especially one with enough power and not too much weight - will be a much safer option than losing one in a single ...
I guess this plane was a little bigger than the typical light twin; no matter, it couldn't fly on one engine, either. It would seem that holding altitude at 3500 on one engine would be fairly easy, but not in this case.
Incident happened last week. Just downloaded from http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20030718X01141&key=1.
NTSB Identification: MIA03FA141
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, July 13, 2003 in Treasure Cay, Bahamas
Aircraft: Cessna 402C, registration: N314AB
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 8 Minor.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On July 13, 2003, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 402C, N314AB, registered to Tropical International Airlines Inc., and operated by Air Sunshine Inc., as Air Sunshine flight 502, impacted with the water 6 miles west of Treasure Cay, Bahamas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 135 scheduled international commuter flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Treasure Cay, Bahamas. The airplane received substantial damage, and sank in 15 to 30 feet of water. The airline transport-rated pilot and seven passengers received minor injuries. Two passengers were fatally injured after they evacuated the airplane. The flight had departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the same day about 1425.
According to the captain, about 20 miles west of the destination airport, at an altitude of 3,500 feet, oil was seen coming from the right engine. He then heard a "pop" and engine parts came out through the top of the cowling. He feathered the right propeller, and applied "full power" to the left engine. He said the landing gear and flaps were retracted, but he could not maintain altitude. The airplane descended at a rate of about 200 to 300 feet per minute for about 5 miles until it impacted the water. Just before impact with the water, he raised the nose, the airplane skipped over the water and came to rest. He opened the pilot's side window, got out through the left cockpit window and then opened the main entrance door. About three or four passengers were evacuated through the left window, and the rest through the main entrance door. All the passengers evacuated the airplane before it sank. They were in the water about 2 hours before a United States Coast Guard helicopter rescued them.
A 402 with 10 people on board. The 401 &402 are very marginal on one engine at gross and if they were not able to feather it would not climb at all. The comparison you make with this aircraft without the relevant facts does not make your argument. The aircraft will probably be found to be over gross with the 10 people, baggage and fuel. I personally would not get in a grossed out 402 They are pushing it's engine to the limit and it has a reputation as a tempermental engine that rarely makes tbo. In addition these two engines are in a aircraft that grosses out at 6850 lbs.
My point was to try and compare good twins for personal transportation that have adequate power to weight ratios. This was a commercial operation and pushes the edge every day, I am surprised there are not more of these problems with loaded up 401's and 402's.
Check out the single engine climb rates on a lot of seemingly powerful twins and it will surprise you which ones have good safety margins and which ones are marginal. The horsepower is boosted up with manifold pressure to bump up the gross weight and the single engine performance deteriorates.
Trade a plane is a quick study on the www if you are a subscriber. The aircraft specs are listed below each model and generally are pretty accurate.
You are obviously flying a high performance aircraft (Mooney) now and there are probably a lot of others here who do also. When a competent pilot such as yourself transitions into a twin and stays trained and proficient and keeps the aircraft in good shape and flys within the limitations of the aircraft the twin is the safer of the two. There will always be accidents to point to that make arguments for the safety of one or the other. I would wait for the accident investigation report before jumping to any conclusions on this one. Remember, a couple of months ago in the bahamas, I think, a singing star was killed in another underpowered much overgrossed twin, this doesn't make the twin unsafe it makes the operator unsafe.
Its all about context..
Sorry, I know it's easy to pick accidents to make any point. All they prove is that such events occur, and how, but not how likely they are. It probably seems masochistic to dwell on accidents. Funny, I've always done it. Even as a kid I'd often go and look at the mangled cars I read or heard about being involved in accidents. There was one pickup truck, I read about and saw, in which an elderly couple died, through only a slight fault of their own. They were waiting to turn left on a 2-lane highway in Villa Rica, GA, waiting for an 18 wheeler to get by, when a car behind the pickup rear-ended them. What did the couple do wrong? They sat waiting to turn with the wheels already turned sharp left, so when they were rear ended, they got pushed broad side in front of an 18 wheeler doing about 60+ mph. I stood on the frame of that pickup looking at the squashed (nonexistent) passenger compartment, and from that day 30 years or so ago on, I've always kept my wheels straight while waiting to make a left turn. Unfortunately, I can't get my wife to, however, so I wish I could take her to that truck so she could see for herself.
Everytime I read one of the NTSB reports, whether preliminary and as fresh as it gets or not, I file away little facts about what went wrong. That's the point of reading them. True, the final reports always add more detail and sometimes revise info in the preliminary report, but not much changes. I think we should get real about the manufacturer performance specs for all planes, keeping in mind that they were for new planes flown by test pilots with extensive experience in make and model under carefully controlled conditions, while real planes are not, nor are the actual conditions of "real" flights comparable to training flights with instructors and safety pilots, ie, when we've mentally and physically rehearsed and carefully planned an "emergency" training operation. When the real thing happens, Murphy's law dictates being at or over gross, having the full tank on the wrong side, having the prop not feather, turbulence, icing and/or mountain obscuration right below (especially if you're without turbo charging), high density altitude, traffic and/or obstacles in the wrong place, getting too low and slow on the approach, etc.
Some pilots definitely don't want to think about this because it detracts from enjoyment of flying. I understand completely. I've made my choice to fly a complex HP single and will stick with it as much for economic reasons as anything else. Life isn't safe. You can't even avoid risk by sitting on your couch all day, because that will surely kill you itself. We all live with a portfolio of risks to manage daily. We can stay on it or ignore it but it's there and the clock is ticking. There's a spectrum of risk from medica/health/dietary-related, occupational, environmental, social/criminal, transportation (driving, biking, walking near highways, flying), and recreational. To not fear risk, manage it, and to manage it, face it.
That was me - not logged in.
Good points, you are correct about life not being safe. There are all kinds of ways to kill yourself out there besides aircraft. I feel much safer flying my airplane over the L.A. area than driving around in it or worse being in the wrong area at the wrong time on foot.
I think about going back to a single often but I have gotten so used to my Baron, except of course when I have to buy fuel. The economics of twin ownership are definitely not fun at times especially if paid for with after tax dollars but... life is short
I also read many accident reports and find them useful.
"As the owner and pilot of an extremely efficient high-performance single engine aircraft (Mooney 231 with intercooler, wastegate, speed brakes, prop heat, and other mods), I must disagree with J. Mac McClellanâ€™s opinion in the Feb â€™03 issue of Flying that â€œâ€¦the pilot flying a high-performance single is every bit as risky as the pilot of the twin.â€ Although a lack of sufficient exposure data impedes our ability to compare aviation accident risks, physical facts favor the high-performance single over the twin: (1) with two engines, the twin has twice the chance of an engine or propeller failure as the single; (2) upon loss of an engine, the single becomes a stable â€" but heavy â€" â€œglider,â€ while the twin becomes an extremely unstable â€" and heavier â€" â€œmotorized glider;â€ (3) with greater mass and drag, the twin has higher stall and flare speeds and much more energy to dissipate or absorb in a crash landing; (4) with its greater fuel burn and typical fuel load, the twin poses a greater fire hazard in a crash landing. In physics, there is no free lunch. The spacious comfort and load capacity of the light twin comes at a price that is and should continue to be paid by twin owners and pilots without subsidization by high-performance single owners and pilots."
Well, the twin doesn't become "extremely unstable", if you fly it out of its design parameters(like less than Vmc) then sure, it will stall-spin-crash-and-burn. Look at it this way, if you get an engine failure, you simply put in the rudder trim, and your "level" attitude is now with 5° of bank, you can still turn the plane left or right, climb or descend(preformance permitting of course). If you try and fly a single engine airplane out of its limits when you have a failed engine(like much less than Vy or simply stall it) you are obviously going to have some "inherent instability problems".
The issue about stall speeds, drag, and flare are dependant upon the plane. There are single airplanes that are fairly clean so they cruise fast, but handle pretty crappy and have some of the same charactoristics mentioned above, not just a deal with twins.
Even the plane that I fly(almost done with MEI) the Seminole, will nearly always drift-down to an airport if an engine fails during cruise. AOPA did an article on it and calculated this out based on a worst-case senario over the rocky mountains. It doesn't mean that you'll always be able to do this if you are flying at a much lower altitude with higher terrain around you, but we do pleny of single-engine flying in them and we live to tell the tale. When I got my multi rating we shut down the engine completely a few times. If you've never shut down and completely feathered the engine on a twin it's something you should probably experience. You'd be surprised how much drag a rotating prop produces, and then when you feather it the plane almost "lurches" forward. It's a big difference and even in the worst conditions your rate of sink is very minimal. It's impossible to replicate by "simulating" engine failure.
Like said below, it's completely on the training of the pilot, and single engine planes fall out of the sky all the time. Sometimes fatal, sometimes not.
You can't deny that many light twins are fairly impratical and not economical. A twin has two props(massive drag) and 3 main structures, two nacelles and a fuselage. Compared to one prop and one nacell. You can cruise faster with less horsepower with a good single, but there are times when the lifting capacity of a bigger twin is needed.
They are fun to fly though...
On guard! You make some good points (ouch!) but also miss a couple. As for power outages, let's not forget that fuel exhaustion is probably THE major cause, and twins are as likely as singles to suffer this problem due simply to their tendency to burn fuel faster and fly shorter ranges (my M20K range at 75% power is 5 hours 20 minutes). Most likely, a single has a better shot than a twin at survival in the fuel exhaustion situation, since the single will generally glide longer and farther, stop quicker, etc). Furthermore, a twin has TWICE the chance of a single losing an engine for other reasons, TWICE! That's a very good reason to stay proficient in single engine performance if you ask me. Now assuming you lose one of two engines and do make it into some traffic pattern, you've still got to land, preferably on the runway - not short, not off to one side or the other where hangers and light poles exist, and not upside down. And, from what I've read in the NTSB files, I would suggest you avoid a go around at all costs. Now in this connection, you've made a darn good point: the asymmetric drag is much greater when the prop is truly windmilling rather than idling, and people aren't doing that in training. Why not? If they're so sure they can make a field in a twin from the pattern, then why are they afraid to really cut an engine? Could it be that their confidence does have it's limits? (Mine sure does! That's why I'm nervous flying my single at night.) That extra drag may explain some disasters I won't go into in NTSB files. Finally, the stability of an aircraft doesn't refer to it's controllability during a stall, but rather, how its inherent design keeps an aircraft from entering an unusual attitude in the first place; the stability of a twin on one engine is not in the same realm as the stability of any single by this customary definition. Thanks for your input.
I disagree though, most twins have one engine running on a seperate tank. What is the biggest problem(at least with all the accident reports I've seen and personal experiance with a few planes falling out of the sky from the local airport) in my opinion? Single engine planes that have a "left and right" selector, and no both. It is simply not the same with a twin nor nearly as dangerous. It seems that the "left and right" selector without a "both" is the cause of a lot of single engine fuel starvation problems.
Actually the reason a lot of people do not actually shut down and feather a prop during training is it's really hard on the systems. We have to log each time its done and a lot of other information about it, how long it took to feather, how long it took to get out of feather, etc. It adds a lot of cost to the maintance and parts that would normally not get replaced and have to be because the school does this. Good experience and worth it...although sometimes hard to justify at $233/hr....
I wrote the above message before I registered :)
Give me a break. Plenty of twins have exhausted fuel in air, leading to some notable accidents (eg, Lyndard Skynard crash) and incidents (the recent forced ditching of a restored DC10, I think, by NASA or FAA, on a test flight). Remembering to switch fuel tanks is one of those issues that proves some people aren't meant for flying. I remember a night flight in a Cherokee 180 once, over mountainous terrain, when I was pushing the plane and knew it, so I wanted to keep it on one tank as long as possible before switching, then got distracted by an ATC warning about nearby traffic, then had the engine get rough as the tank ran dry. Luckily, when I reached down and flipped the switch to the other tank, the engine kept running. Flipping that switch is a lot easier than maneuvering while banking away from a dead engine, at night, over mountainous terrain, knowing there's not a hell of a lot of fuel in the other tank.
Craig - I've been laying back because I just got my MEI and I've been seeing what more experienced pilots would have to say. Quite honestly, I'd say both you and Stryker are correct, depending on your perspective. As I tell each of my students, you have to fly the plane you're in, not the one you flew yesterday. Also, you have to assess the risks and benefits of each flight and put them all in proper perspective. Most of all, you must manage the risk. For example, would I rather fly a twin at night over the Rockies vs. a Saratoga with it's Frigidaire-like glide characteristics? I'm leaning towards the twin, assuming that I'm up on my emergency procedures. Yes, that's a big assumption, but why don't pilots practice these things (probably the same reason drivers don't go to empty parking lots after the first snow and practice recovering from spin-outs - couldn't possibly happen to me).
As for fuel management issues - take nothing for granted. I recently had a student shut the fuel off on me in flight over the darkest part of the county during a night cross country. In a 172.
True enough. I've flown a Cherokee 180 and Mooney 231 across the middle of lake Michigan 5-6 times, but always during the day in midsummer, with liferaft and vests aboard. I wouldn't fly a single over the lake with cold water temps or at night, but I might not hesitate to make that flight in a twin, were I rated to fly a twin.
After hearing and reading comments for more than 30 years on the twin vs single concerns I've come to the following conclusions:
Pilots with a single engine rating more often than not discuss the dangers of twins.
Given the choice for safety pilots with multi engine ratings will almost always take a twin over a single engine.
When you bark about the dangers of a twin on this forum, please preface your comments with how many hours you have in twins.
As for me, I like both SE and ME, but in IFR or at night or any other time I'd rather be flying with 2 engines
I recently got my commercial mutli license;
It's simply awesome to be flying around in a twin with one engine shut down and feathered. It is something that sticks in your mind for a long time and just seems so wierd when you think back on looking out the window at the "dead" engine. This was training of course, but it is a pretty neat experience. I talked about this above, but now I've done it around 6 times :D
Anyhow, it is a ton of fun to fly complex twins....
Anonymous seems to think that only those who fly twins should speak to the issues of twin versus single safety. That is, only people who've logged time in twins know how safe twins are as compared to singles, so everyone else should just butt out. One flaw in this lame argument is that people who've made the decision to go ME obviously arrived at that position long BEFORE getting the rating, not afterwards, so the preference for ME among this subset of pilots proves nothing. Preference one way or the other proves nothing; nor do antecdotal assertions not even backed up with statistical data. And, speaking of relevant experience, while it would probably be interesting to preface comments here with one's academic training, professional expertise, current occupation, and relevant experience in aviation safety research, along with flight time and experience in various operational and aircraft subcategories, none of that speaks to the fundamental, complex issues of twin versus single safety.
Mr. Morris I am not trying to suggest that you or anyone else with a (single engine rating) are not qualified to give your opinions. Furthemore, I did not intend to offend you.
Once upon a time I also thought that singles were safer than twins (when I held a SE cert).
I am confident that experienced multi engine pilots would generally disagree with your feelings that singles are safer. Looking at stats alone without the knowledge and experience can bias ones interpretation. We all learn through experience. This is why I suggested when posting on this subject we can consider experience.
Nonetheless I respect your right to opine that an airplane you are not qualified to fly is unsafe when compared to a single.
Anonymous, you offer personal opinions as if they were expert opinions without evidence of real expertise beyond experience flying a light twin. Do you think a judge would admit you into a courtroom as an expert aviation safety witness? If so, fine, you must have qualifications that you haven't shared here. Since you brought up the issue, aviation safety research is best left to people with scientific skills, not psychomotor skills. People with your attitude end up upside down in a light twin running on one engine several times a year, sometimes while sitting beside an instructor. And I know that some people in light singles find various ways to crash several times a year, too. I think we all realize that, so where do we go from there? I would suggest spending some quality time with the NTSB files at http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.asp (see monthly lists, for example) to gain some useful qualitative insights into the twin/single safety issue. And I welcome any constructive comments about twin versus single safety.
All I suggested was that the people commenting on this subject indicate if they are muli engine rated or single engine rated. Why does this bother you?
I did not state that only multi engine rated pilots were qualified to comment, nor did I ever write that "in my professional opinion" twins are safer than singles.
Since you bring up the expert question, yes I have served as an expert on several cases in the US court system for more than a decade. You should know that an "expert" is deemed in a court of law as an "expert" because of both certain education and relevant experience. Again relevant experiance (which follows education)is all I suggested when commenting here.
Your arrogant comments in an attempt to control information written here suggest an insecurity on your part.
Please if you are not an expert on this subject don't attempt to impress readers with your "arm chair quarter backing" by soley reading the NTSB reports. Also if the Ph.D. behind your name is directly relevant to this discussion fine. If not, you are not impressing us mere mortals.
Let me clarify this, anonymous, then I will not continue this childish argument any longer. First, I take full responsibility for my comments here, giving my real name, and I think any real insecurities lie with those who refuse to do the same. Second, I prefer efficiency insofar as possible in all of life, which is why I fly a modified Mooney 231 - a complex, hi-perf single, rather than a twin (though I was once infatuated with the Piper Aztec). Third, psychomotor skills in handling a light twin on one engine give one no insights whatsoever into aviation safety, though extensive real flight experience does, as does genuine scientific skill; albeit psychomotor skills do give an illusion of security. Perhaps I should explain with an example. Space shuttle pilots probably don't really, deep down, accept the estimated probability of a catastrophy (on the order of 1 in 150 or worse) that they are given by the scientists responsible for estimating such risks. The shuttle pilots, most capable as pilots, don't specialize in risk assessments; other people do. If you, anonymous, are an expert in aviation safety, then prove it - and offer something useful to the debate, which personal invective is NOT, I assure you.
God help us if you two ever end up in the same airspace.
Anonymous - Your comments seem insightful and reasonably well informed. I will not question your expertise. I suggest you register as a user and end any question of your qualifications. You should have no reason to remain anonymous.
Craig - Settle down. Egos are dangerous in the air and just plain annoying on a forum. Espescially one intended for communication between people who must, for their own safety and that of their passengers, remain cool and collected. Don't blight your otherwise excellent record of usefull posts.
This kind of petty bull**** is probably part of the reason this board is low traffic. Enough name calling and finger pointing!
Looks to me like the real issue between twins and singles is the pilot, not so much the airplane. We all know that there is a difference between being "current" versus being PROFICIENT. Pilot error is the single greatest cause of aircraft accidents. Is the airplane dangerous, or is it the idiot at the controls? Twins are more dangerous for a rusty pilot relative to a rusty pilot in a single, simply because of all the various factors already mentioned (more weight, more systems to fail, etc.). The fact that you may have twice the systems to fail, you also have twice the redundancy for systems to operate. This is an issue that everyone will be entitled to have their own strong opinions about, but I'd look more at the pilot than the airplane as what is really "SAFE."
Of course, when Lindbergh was planning for his trans-atlantic flight, everyone thought he should go with a multi-engine aircraft for redundancy, but Lindbergh knew something about multi-engine aircraft and knew that a single was the only way to make the flight. I think it was a very wise decision to go with a single, and in some cirxxxstances I would argue that a single is 'safer' than a twin, but in other situations I would duly argue that a twin is much safer than a single.
I doubt it had anything to do with saftey, a twin has so much more drag (1 fuselage, 2 engine pods and 2 propellors) compared to a single, that it takes a LOT more power and a LOT more gas to fly a twin engine airplane with the SAME performance as a single.
From the practical standpoint, a single engine will take your further with less gas due to the damatic decrease in drag.
This post is actually a reaction to the post of 7/13/2003 at the bottom of page 1 above.
Exactly, and pilot errors are not an indication that some pilots are idiots; rather, they're a fact of human life too often ignored or overlooked. Humans learn quickly and forget almost as quickly. Humans are moody, distractible, vain, and especially where pilots are concerned, highly goal-oriented and self-confident even to the point of arrogance. Unfortunately, these qualities lead good, well-qualified people into situations way over their heads, like partial panel in the soup, embedded thunderstorms, icing while running out of oxygen and altitude/course options, spatial disorientation on short final in the soup, and attempting to continue the climbing turn on one engine. Only technology can address these issues in the real world where the vast majority of private pilots cannot continue flying at anywhere near the same frequency and level of training intensity that they do to get ratings. Furthermore, the more ratings we get, the more opportunities for further dangerous exposures occur; certainly getting the instrument rating opens as many new cans of worms as it resolves, and likewise with the ME. It's wrong that flying is not inherently dangerous. Compared to most other human activities, it's extremely dangerous, but it can be made much less so by emerging smart technologies.
It is interesting that Lindbergh chose a single for the 1st trans-Atlantic flight. Rumor is he said a twin doubles the chances for an engine failure, which, whether he said it or not, is a fact. Some causes of engine failure, such as fuel exhaustion, are equally deleterious to both 1 and 2 engine planes, but since twins gulp so much more fuel per unit time, they make it more likely to run out. An interesting study is coming to address this issue - I promise.
not all multis are created equal...we were practicing engine-out flight and approach to landing in the 727 simulator last week...it almost took 2lbs of rudder pressure to correct for the loss of an "outboard" engine :D
not exactly a big problem...although I witnessed one student that simply had no idea of how to correct and use the instruments to determine the corrections necessary. He was having a "bad day" evidently, but it goes to show that even in such a benign-multi aircraft a pilot that is not profficiant makse a huge difference.
Make it a habit to check your fuel gauges to ensure the tanks are even.
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