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


Flight training in a multiengine airplane can be safely accomplished if both the instructor and the student are cognizant of the following factors.

  • No flight should ever begin without a thorough preflight briefing of the objectives, maneuvers, expected student actions, and completion standards.
  • A clear understanding must be reached as to how simulated emergencies will be introduced, and what action the student is expected to take. The introduction, practice, and testing of emergency procedures has always been a sensitive subject.

Surprising a multiengine student with an emergency without a thorough briefing beforehand has no place in flight training. Effective training must be carefully balanced with safety considerations. Simulated engine failures, for example, can very quickly become actual emergencies or lead to loss of the airplane when approached carelessly. Pulling circuit breakers can lead to a subsequent gear up landing. Stall-spin accidents in training for emergencies rival the number of stall-spin accidents from actual emergencies.

All normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures can and should be introduced and practiced in the airplane as it sits on the ground, power off. In this respect, the airplane is used as a cockpit procedures trainer (CPT), ground trainer, or simulator. The value of this training should never be underestimated. The engines do not have to be operating for real learning to occur. Upon completion of a training session, care should be taken to return items such as switches, valves, trim, fuel selectors, and circuit breakers to their normal positions.

Pilots who do not use a checklist effectively will be at a significant disadvantage in multiengine airplanes. Use of the checklist is essential to safe operation of airplanes and no flight should be conducted without one. The manufacturer’s checklist or an aftermarket checklist for the specific make, model, and model year should be used. If there is a procedural discrepancy between the checklist and AFM/POH, then the AFM/POH always takes precedence.

Certain immediate action items (such as the response to an engine failure in a critical phase of flight) should be committed to memory. After they are accomplished, and as work load permits, the pilot should verify the action taken with a printed checklist.

Simulated engine failures during the takeoff ground roll should be accomplished with the mixture control. The simulated failure should be introduced at a speed no greater than 50 percent of VMC. If the student does not react promptly by retarding both throttles, the instructor can always pull the other mixture.

The FAA recommends that all in-flight simulated engine failures below 3,000 feet AGL be introduced with a smooth reduction of the throttle. Thus, the engine is kept running and is available for instant use, if necessary. Throttle reduction should be smooth rather than abrupt to avoid abusing the engine and possibly causing damage. All inflight engine failures must be conducted at VSSE or above.

If the engines are equipped with dynamic crankshaft counterweights, it is essential to make throttle reductions for simulated failures smoothly. Other areas leading to dynamic counterweight damage include high r.p.m. and low manifold pressure combinations, overboosting, and propeller feathering. Severe damage or repetitive abuse to counterweights will eventually lead to engine failure. Dynamic counterweights are found on larger, more complex engines—instructors should check with maintenance personnel or the engine manufacturer to determine if their engines are so equipped.

When an instructor simulates an engine failure, the student should respond with the appropriate memory items and retard the propeller control towards the FEATHER position. Assuming zero thrust will be set, the instructor should promptly move the propeller control forward and set the appropriate manifold pressure and r.p.m. It is vital that the student be kept informed of the instructor’s intentions. At this point the instructor may state words to the effect, “I have the right engine; you have the left. I have set zero thrust and the right engine is simulated feathered.” There should never be any ambiguity as to who is operating what systems or controls.

Following a simulated engine failure, the instructor should continue to care for the “failed” engine just as the student cares for the operative engine. If zero thrust is set to simulate a feathered propeller, the cowl flap should be closed and the mixture leaned. An occasional clearing of the engine is also desirable. If possible, avoid high power applications immediately following a prolonged cool-down at a zero-thrust power setting. The flight instructor must impress on the student multiengine pilot the critical importance of feathering the propeller in a timely manner should an actual engine failure situation be encountered. A windmilling propeller, in many cases, has given the improperly trained multiengine pilot the mistaken perception that the failed engine is still developing useful thrust, resulting in a psychological reluctance to feather, as feathering results in the cessation of propeller rotation. The flight instructor should spend ample time demonstrating the difference in the performance capabilities of the airplane with a simulated feathered propeller (zero thrust) as opposed to a windmilling propeller.

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All actual propeller feathering should be performed at altitudes and positions where safe landings on established airports could be readily accomplished. Feathering and restart should be planned so as to be completed no lower than 3,000 feet AGL. At certain elevations and with many popular multiengine training airplanes, this may be above the single-engine service ceiling, and level flight will not be possible.

Repeated feathering and unfeathering is hard on the engine and airframe, and should be done only as absolutely necessary to ensure adequate training. The FAA’s practical test standards for a multiengine class rating requires the feathering and unfeathering of one propeller during flight in airplanes in which it is safe to do so.

While much of this chapter has been devoted to the unique flight characteristics of the multiengine airplane with one engine inoperative, the modern, well-maintained reciprocating engine is remarkably reliable. Simulated engine failures at extremely low altitudes (such as immediately after lift-off) and/or below VSSE are undesirable in view of the non-existent safety margins involved. The high risk of simulating an engine failure below 200 feet AGL does not warrant practicing such maneuvers.

For training in maneuvers that would be hazardous in flight, or for initial and recurrent qualification in an advanced multiengine airplane, a simulator training center or manufacturer’s training course should be given consideration. Comprehensive training manuals and classroom instruction are available along with system training aids, audio/visuals, and flight training devices and simulators. Training under a wide variety of environmental and aircraft conditions is available through simulation. Emergency procedures that would be either dangerous or impossible to accomplish in an airplane can be done safely and effectively in a flight training device or simulator. The flight training device or simulator need not necessarily duplicate the specific make and model of airplane to be useful. Highly effective instruction can be obtained in training devices for other makes and models as well as generic training devices.

The majority of multiengine training is conducted in four to six-place airplanes at weights significantly less than maximum. Single-engine performance, particularly at low density altitudes, may be deceptively good. To experience the performance expected at higher weights, altitudes, and temperatures, the instructor should occasionally artificially limit the amount of manifold pressure available on the operative engine. Airport operations above the single-engine ceiling can also be simulated in this manner. Loading the airplane with passengers to practice emergencies at maximum takeoff weight is not appropriate.

The use of the touch-and-go landing and takeoff in flight training has always been somewhat controversial. The value of the learning experience must be weighed against the hazards of reconfiguring the airplane for takeoff in an extremely limited time as well as the loss of the follow-through ordinarily experienced in a full stop landing. Touch and goes are not recommended during initial aircraft familiarization in multiengine airplanes.

If touch and goes are to be performed at all, the student and instructor responsibilities need to be carefully briefed prior to each flight. Following touchdown, the student will ordinarily maintain directional control while keeping the left hand on the yoke and the right hand on the throttles. The instructor resets the flaps and trim and announces when the airplane has been reconfigured. The multiengine airplane needs considerably more runway to perform a touch and go than a single-engine airplane. A full stop-taxi back landing is preferable during initial familiarization. Solo touch and goes in twins are strongly discouraged.


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