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Multiengine training: Identify, verify, feather?Multiengine training: Identify, verify, feather?

Editor's note: This article incorrectly stated that diesel-powered Diamond DA42NG twins will automatically feather the correct propeller in the event of an engine failure. In fact, a genuine engine failure still requires the pilot to feather the prop by shutting off the engine master after identifying the affected engine and verifying it by moving its single power lever. Securing the engine requires shutting off the fuel selector and alternator. However, simulating an engine failure during training is done by turning off the engine master, which immediately shuts down the engine and feathers the propeller. Flight Training and the author regret this error.

A good friend we’ll call “Bob” (because that’s his name) recently passed his multiengine checkride. As in most multiengine training, one-engine-inoperative procedures centered around the mantra of “identify, verify, feather, secure.”

Multiengine Training

Multiengine training traditionally has been conducted in piston twins whose engine failures, real or simulated, are easily misdiagnosed and even more easily mismanaged. Confronted with the sudden yaw and incipient roll triggered by asymmetric thrust and the drag of a windmilling propeller, pilots have to react quickly—instantaneously, if this happens during initial climb—by sweeping all the engine controls full forward if not already there, countering the yaw with opposite rudder, and lowering the nose to conserve airspeed. After banking gently toward the operating engine and retracting any extended landing gear or flaps, the real fun can begin.

Identify. The fact that there’s a mnemonic for it (“dead foot, dead engine”) proves that what might seem obvious isn’t automatic. In 2015, 39 passengers and four crew members were killed when the pilots of an ATR–72 turboprop twin mistakenly shut down the good engine after the other quit during climbout.

Verify. Pull back the suspected dead engine’s throttle to see if anything changes. If nothing does, you’ve identified it correctly.

Feather. Prop control full aft. If there’s still enough oil pressure in the governor, you’ll feel an immediate reduction in yaw and boost in airspeed as windmilling propeller blades turn edge-first into the relative wind.

Once stable in level flight or descending at an acceptable rate, there might be time to attempt a restart. If not, or if it fails, it’s on to “secure.”

Multiengine training traditionally has been conducted in piston twins whose engine failures, real or simulated, are easily misdiagnosed and even more easily mismanaged.Secure. Typical items include mixture to idle cutoff, adjusting the fuel selector, and turning off magnetos, alternator, and any other accessories. After that, it’s just a matter of keeping the remaining engine alive and holding altitude long enough to reach an airport, fly a single-engine approach (IFR on a particularly exciting day), and land. Nothing to it, right?

After mastering these procedures in piston twins, many career-track pilots move on to the more automated world of jets (where feathering isn’t an issue) or turboprops with autofeathering capability.

ASI Staff

David Jack Kenny

David Jack Kenny is a freelance aviation writer.

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