Day one of multi training. I am a noodle. Nothing like four or five hours of mortal combat in the skies to take a little out of you.
Two flights today with Tom Brady of Traverse Air in his 1957 Piper Apache (PA-23-150) N3207P. Met Tom at the terminal building at Cadillac (KCAD) this morning at about 9:30. We talked about the training and the maneuvers and then went out to see the aircraft. After a brief tour, it was time to start her up and get airborne.
The maneuvers are fairly straightforward and basically amount to all of the elements of flying that you don’t get in a single-engine aircraft. The most similar stuff to single-engine flying was the stalls and steep turns. Steep turns are essentially the same, except that there’s no power change involved. You just go around at 20” MP and 2,200 RPM.
Stalls are a little different in that we didn’t go to full break. Additionally, power-on stalls are done at 18” manifold pressure (as opposed to 25” of more manifold pressure on a normal takeoff takeoff). Fine with me. I’d rather not be at full takeoff power with 150 HP on each wing with the possibility of asymmetric evils if the break happened in an uncoordinated way.
The other maneuvers are concentrated on engine-out operations. All of this is brand new territory. The instructor fails an engine in one way or another, depending on the circumstances, and you compensate in all of the appropriate ways.
If you’re close to the ground, the instructor will simulate an engine failure using the throttle, which isn’t as authentic, but is safer. We did a couple of failures on takeoff, at least 500 feet AGL. Failures at altitude are usually done by the instructor pulling the mixture.
In any case, you look at the ball of the inclinometer and step on it hard and then bank about five degrees into the good engine. Then it’s “power up” (all of the handles – throttles, props, and mixes full forward), “clean up” (flaps and gear up), check the gas, and check the electric boost pumps.
After that, you configure the aircraft to fly as best it can with just one engine. That means identifying the dead engine (“dead foot, dead engine” – whichever foot isn’t pushing on the pedal is the “dead foot” and that tells you which engine is out). You pull the throttle on that engine. No change? Leave it off. Same with the prop. No change? Leave it off. Then you secure the dead engine by pulling the mix.
Then you fly the airplane at blue line (Vyse or 95 MPH on the Apache) until told to recover or land.
The other maneuver is Vmc demonstration. This amounts to flying the airplane to (but not over!) the edge of its control envelope. This amounts to flying the airplane to or near Vmc (generally 78 MPH) in the configuration that has the most asymmetric thrust condition with as many factors as possible set to make control difficult and, generally, producing the circumstances most likely to put the airplane on its back. Left engine out and windmilling (not feathered) right engine full power and prop full forward. Gear up. No flaps. You get into this condition and then you slow up the airplane to Vmc and recover at the first sign of incipient loss of control. That means a buffet, a heading change, or similar indications.
And here’s the thing. Unlike a lot of single-engine maneuvers that are very reminiscent of this condition, you don’t push the good engine to full power. After all , it’s already there and that’s part of what’s getting you into the situation. No, you push the nose over and decrease the power on the good engine. That’s so the good engine doesn’t whip its side of the airplane over when the other wing stalls.
And here’s the other thing. Big thing, kind of. Unexpected anyway. I assumed that I was just getting the rating VFR. I assumed that the multi-engine VFR and multi-engine IFR ratings were separate things. After all, I’m getting the multi primarily so that I can qualify for the SIC type rating in the DC-3 in May down in Georgia. But it turns out that there’s simply a multi-engine rating and, if you don’t do the IFR part, you simply get a restriction saying that the multi-engine rating is VFR only.
I know. Six in one and a half dozen in the other. And I may still have it wrong. But I found out when Tom and I sat down that I can get the rating without the VFR limitation this weekend. All I have to do is fly an approach as a part of the checkride with an engine failure thrown in for fun.
I flew four localizer approaches today, the first two without the hood and the second two with the hood. Talk about being busy! Holy crap! I won’t be disappointed if I end up having the restriction on my ticket, but it would be really nice to get the rating without the VFR-only restriction. I’m going to have to chair fly a few approaches tonight in preparation.