Chapter 12—Transition to Multiengine Airplanes

Table of Contents
Multiengine Flight
Terms and Definitions
Operation of Systems
    Propeller Synchronization
    Fuel Crossfeed
    Combustion Heater
    Flight Director / Autopilot
    Yaw Damper
    Alternator / Generator
    Nose Baggage Compartment
    Anti-Icing / Deicing
Performance and Limitations
Weight and Balance
Ground Operation
Normal and Crosswind Takeoff and Climb
Level Off and Cruise
Normal Approach and Landing
Crosswind Approach and Landing
Short-Field Takeoff and Climb
Short-Field Approach and Landing
Rejected Takeoff
Engine Failure After Lift-Off
Engine Failure During Flight
Engine Inoperative Approach Landing
Engine Inoperative Flight Principles
Slow Flight
    Power-Off Stalls (Approach and Landing)

    Power-On Stalls (Takeoff and Departure)
    Spin Awareness
Engine Inoperative—Loss of Directional Control Demonstration
Multiengine Training Considerations


With the “before takeoff” checklist complete and air traffic control (ATC) clearance received, the airplane should be taxied into position on the runway centerline. If departing from an airport without an operating control tower, a careful check for approaching aircraft should be made along with a radio advisory on the appropriate frequency. Sharp turns onto the runway combined with a rolling takeoff are not a good operating practice and may be prohibited by the AFM/POH due to the possibility of “unporting” a fuel tank pickup. (The takeoff itself may be prohibited by the AFM/POH under any circumstances below certain fuel levels.) The flight controls should be positioned for a crosswind, if present. Exterior lights such as landing and taxi lights, and wingtip strobes should be illuminated immediately prior to initiating the takeoff roll, day or night. If holding in takeoff position for any length of time, particularly at night, the pilot should activate all exterior lights upon taxiing into position.

Takeoff power should be set as recommended in the AFM/POH. With normally aspirated (non-turbocharged) engines, this will be full throttle. Full throttle is also used in most turbocharged engines. There are some turbocharged engines, however, that require the pilot to set a specific power setting, usually just below red line manifold pressure. This yields takeoff power with less than full throttle travel.


Ch 12.qxd 5/7/04 9:54 AM Page 12-13

Turbocharged engines often require special consideration. Throttle motion with turbocharged engines should be exceptionally smooth and deliberate. It is acceptable, and may even be desirable, to hold the airplane in position with brakes as the throttles are advanced. Brake release customarily occurs after significant boost from the turbocharger is established. This prevents wasting runway with slow, partial throttle acceleration as the engine power is increased. If runway length or obstacle clearance is critical, full power should be set before brake release, as specified in the performance charts.

As takeoff power is established, initial attention should be divided between tracking the runway centerline and monitoring the engine gauges. Many novice multi- engine pilots tend to fixate on the airspeed indicator just as soon as the airplane begins its takeoff roll. Instead, the pilot should confirm that both engines are developing full-rated manifold pressure and r.p.m., and that the fuel flows, fuel pressures, exhaust gas temperatures (EGTs), and oil pressures are matched in their normal ranges. A directed and purposeful scan of the engine gauges can be accomplished well before the airplane approaches rotation speed. If a crosswind is present, the aileron displacement in the direction of the crosswind may be reduced as the airplane accelerates. The elevator/stabilator control should be held neutral throughout.

Full rated takeoff power should be used for every takeoff. Partial power takeoffs are not recommended. There is no evidence to suggest that the life of modern reciprocating engines is prolonged by partial power takeoffs. Paradoxically, excessive heat and engine wear can occur with partial power as the fuel metering system will fail to deliver the slightly over-rich mixture vital for engine cooling during takeoff.

There are several key airspeeds to be noted during the takeoff and climb sequence in any twin. The first speed to consider is VMC. If an engine fails below VMC while the airplane is on the ground, the takeoff must be rejected. Directional control can only be maintained by promptly closing both throttles and using rudder and brakes as required. If an engine fails below VMC while airborne, directional control is not possible with the remaining engine producing takeoff power. On takeoffs, therefore, the airplane should never be airborne before the airspeed reaches and exceeds VMC. Pilots should use the manufacturer’s recommended rotation speed (VR) or lift-off speed (VLOF). If no such speeds are published, a minimum of VMC plus 5 knots should be used for VR.

The rotation to a takeoff pitch attitude is done smoothly. With a crosswind, the pilot should ensure that the landing gear does not momentarily touch the runway after the airplane has lifted off, as a side drift will be present. The rotation may be accomplished more positively and/or at a higher speed under these conditions. However, the pilot should keep in mind that the AFM/POH performance figures for accelerate- stop distance, takeoff ground roll, and distance to clear an obstacle were calculated at the recommended VR and/or VLOF speed.

After lift-off, the next consideration is to gain altitude as rapidly as possible. After leaving the ground, altitude gain is more important than achieving an excess of airspeed. Experience has shown that excessive speed cannot be effectively converted into altitude in the event of an engine failure. Altitude gives the pilot time to think and react. Therefore, the airplane should be allowed to accelerate in a shallow climb to attain VY, the best all-engine rate-of-climb speed. VY should then be maintained until a safe single-engine maneuvering altitude, considering terrain and obstructions, is achieved.

To assist the pilot in takeoff and initial climb profile, some AFM/POHs give a “50-foot” or “50-foot barrier” speed to use as a target during rotation, lift-off, and acceleration to VY.

Landing gear retraction should normally occur after a positive rate of climb is established. Some AFM/POHs direct the pilot to apply the wheel brakes momentarily after lift-off to stop wheel rotation prior to landing gear retraction. If flaps were extended for takeoff, they should be retracted as recommended in the AFM/POH.

Once a safe single-engine maneuvering altitude has been reached, typically a minimum of 400-500 feet AGL, the transition to an enroute climb speed should be made. This speed is higher than VY and is usually maintained to cruising altitude. Enroute climb speed gives better visibility, increased engine cooling, and a higher groundspeed. Takeoff power can be reduced, if desired, as the transition to enroute climb speed is made.

Some airplanes have a climb power setting published in the AFM/POH as a recommendation (or sometimes as a limitation), which should then be set for enroute climb. If there is no climb power setting published, it is customary, but not a requirement, to reduce manifold pressure and r.p.m. somewhat for enroute climb. The propellers are usually synchronized after the first power reduction and the yaw damper, if installed, engaged. The AFM/POH may also recommend leaning the mixtures during climb. The "climb" checklist should be accomplished as traffic and work load allow. [Figure 12-7]

Figure 12-7. Takeoff and climb profile.

Figure 12-7. Takeoff and climb profile.

Ch 12.qxd 5/7/04 9:54 AM Page 12-14


Upon leveling off at cruising altitude, the pilot should allow the airplane to accelerate at climb power until cruising airspeed is achieved, then cruise power and r.p.m. should be set. To extract the maximum cruise performance from any airplane, the power setting tables provided by the manufacturer should be closely followed. If the cylinder head and oil temperatures are within their normal ranges, the cowl flaps may be closed. When the engine temperatures have stabilized, the mixtures may be leaned per AFM/POH recommendations. The remainder of the “cruise” checklist should be completed by this point. Fuel management in multiengine airplanes is often more complex than in single-engine airplanes. Depending upon system design, the pilot may need to select between main tanks and auxiliary tanks, or even employ fuel transfer from one tank to another. In complex fuel systems, limitations are often found restricting the use of some tanks to level flight only, or requiring a reserve of fuel in the main tanks for descent and landing. Electric fuel pump operation can vary widely among different models also, particularly during tank switching or fuel transfer. Some fuel pumps are to be on for takeoff and landing; others are to be off. There is simply no substitute for thorough systems and AFM/POH knowledge when operating complex aircraft.


Previous | Next

Copyright 2012
PED Publication