Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wind and Engine Out Musings

Stupid wind... The runway at MLE is situated at 300 and 120. The wind today was at 340 11 knots steady gusting to 20 knots. At 40 degrees off of the runway direction at the gust of 20 knots that puts us right at 17 knots as our cross wind component. Right at the limit of the Archer II... So I canceled the flight. Crap. This is the third time now. The previous two were for low ceilings. Today we had an unlimited ceiling, but the wind shut us down... That is General Aviation. We are forever at the mercy of our machines and the weather.

Speaking of machines... I was thinking about emergency procedures, as we are sure to go over them during the check ride. A thought came to me about engine loss immediately after take off. MLE is a very convenient little airport in the middle of the city. That is the bad part as well...

If you loose your engine before you have gained much altitude, you have to lower your nose and put the airplane down. You don't have a choice. There isn't time or space to turn back to the runway. You loose altitude in a hurry when doing a nose down turn, exactly what you do in an engine failure situation. If you don't put your nose down you stall and you come crashing down uncontrolled. Again there isn't time or space to recover from a stall.

As you can see from the aerial picture:

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Taking off of runway 30 you have houses, businesses, ans lots of streets. Not good.

Taking off of runway 12 you have a bit better picture, IF you can clear the damn interstate that runs about 20 or so feet above the airport. Most likely you are just going to hit an 18 wheeler.

Still, I have never heard of an engine failing right after take off. It remains as something that is kind of a boogie man out there. Know what to do, but it really never happens. It is just something to think about...

It might be fun to practice engine failures on take off, but you need a very long runway in order to practice them... There is an 8000 foot runway out at North Platte some 206 nautical miles away... It would take me 2 hours just to get there. Columbus has 6800 feet and they are just 57 nautical away... I will have to think about that one.

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