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  • Multi Engine Commercial

    I haven't posted here in quite a while, but thought I'd give a quick write up on my multi-engine commercial training and checkout.

    I did the rating as an add-on to my commercial single engine land certificate. The requirements were very minimal.

    One thing I found to be very helpful is to use a RedBird simulator (actually an Advanced Aviation Training Device) for a portion of the training. One thing about multi engine training is that it is rarely about flying with two engines. As such, an MEI must be careful about how single engine emergencies are simulated. In the RedBird, it is possible to practice emergencies that would be unsafe to practice in the real airplane. Practice in the airplane is important, but it is unrealistic to thing that an engine is only going to fail at 400 AGL or higher. Including the checkride, I was in the airplane about 10 hours. It could have been shorter but we had to fly a ways north from KBJC to meet minimal altitude requirements for Vmc practice and avoid DEN class B airspace. Going back and forth each lesson does burn up some time.

    My checkride was the easiest yet of the four I've had. A quick oral session covering multi engine specific topics like critical engine, Vmc recovery, systems failures, etc. That went by very quickly.

    In the airplane, I got the obligatory engine failure on the departure roll, pulled the throttles and announced the abort. The examiner asked me to continue. On departure I got another failure not quite at pattern altitude, mixture - prop - throttle - gear - flaps - identify - verify. I got the engine back once I verified the correct engine. We did the usual slow flight, stalls, steep turns ( the only part I messed up).

    Since KBJC was down to one runway, we headed to KFNL for a couple landings. On the way there, I knew something was up since he didn't have me do anything for a while. Then the engine failure hit. This time, he used the fuel selector so it would be more of a surprise. After the fact he told he that the three prior applicants he tested did not catch the engine failure -- they were lost because the MEI would always use the throttle or mixture, and make it too obvious. That's scary to think that a multi-engine applicant would not be able to address an engine failure properly. Anyway, I went through the usual drill and he had me feather followed by a restart. Then it was time for an emergency descent and a single engine GPS approach to KFNL runway 15. It was a zoo there, I can see why a virtual tower is going in. Touch and go followed by a short field landing. We headed back to KBJC for a final full stop landing. Upon parking he congratulated me on passing my multi engine commercial ride.

    After the checkride I still needed 15 hours of additional time for the checkout (insurance requirements). My MEI and I flew to KRAP, KBFF, KGLD and KDHT. It was fun flying the Seminole to 4 states and racking up the multi engine, PIC, and XC hours. The training was very worthwhile. In the end, I will likely never fly professionally, but it opens up a door.

    One thing that kept me from doing this training for a while was an unreasonable concern over engine failures and a Vmc roll. To be for sure, the multis do need to be respected. At our density altitude, overloading the aircraft is a sure way to guarantee a complete lack of single engine climb performance. Like any other airplane, it is critical to stay current, train, use checklists and respect the limitations of the aircraft.

    While I took a good part of the year off from flying, I got myself current again and passed a checkride. I'm a bit over 500 hours on my time now, 25 multi and over 300 XC hours. I didn't fly as much this year but did manage to add 70 hours on my logbook. I also took and passed the knowledge tests for FOI and Advanced Ground Instructor. I had an appointment at the Denver FSDO so my ground instructor certificate is on the way. It was a busy second half of the year!

  • #2
    Congrats on the ME add-on--good job! Seems like the hardest part about that will be staying proficient.

    Looks like you're still flying as much as the average pilot who isn't being paid to fly (don't like to say non-professional, because no matter what level of experience or certificates or ratings, every pilot should fly as professionally as he or she can).

    You made some good observations, applicable as well to singles, not just to twins:
    • In the RedBird, it is possible to practice emergencies that would be unsafe to practice in the real airplane.
    • it is unrealistic to thing that an engine is only going to fail at 400 AGL
    • GPS approach to KFNL runway 15. It was a zoo there, I can see why a virtual tower is going in.
    • At our density altitude, overloading the aircraft is a sure way to guarantee a complete lack of single engine climb performance.
    • Like any other airplane, it is critical to stay current, train, use checklists and respect the limitations of the aircraft.

    The only one I'd like to expand on a bit, because you've said what needs to be said about the others, is the zoo atmosphere at KFNL. I agree--it can be that way, especially on weekends. I've seen as many as 8 fixed wing and 3 helicopters in the pattern, many of them students, and although the fixed wingers are guilty of mis-stating their positions, the helicopter students are even worse, since they don't fly a standard pattern, and they seem to pick the oddest ways to describe their positions. That being said, when you're more accustomed to flying there, it becomes easier--but you surely do need to keep an eye out for everyone else!

    KFNL isn't the only non-towered airport in the country with a zoo-ish atmosphere, so it's good practice to be able to handle such a place. It's much quieter at KGXY, except on a nice sunny Saturday, when the $100 hamburger crowd descends for breakfast and lunch. I think most frequenters of KFNL are curious how the virtual tower will turn out, and if it will actually reduce the zoo feeling. I attended a recent meeting in which the virtual tower was the major topic, and so now I have a better idea how it will work, but I do wonder how well it will work. Only time and experience will tell.

    Cary

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    • #3
      5 ....... 4 ....... 3 ....... 2 ....... 1 ....... Lol!

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      • #4
        Between 8.0 and 8.5 hours will be allocated to flight training. Depending on location and availability.

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        • #5
          What kind of plane?

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