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Shelter Cove, CA, Bonanza engine failure on final

Airborne_Again wrote:

the difficulty of judging height over water – particularly if you’re not used to it.

Yes, fully agreed. And yet here again the Bonnie was quite high when it stalled, at least 10 meters or more. And everyone survived. I think the margin for error for a stalled landing could be quite generous, in comparison to the energy involved in higher speed if you land ahead without stalling.


LeSving wrote:

It’s the standard approach on ULs, and also used by the military.

What military? Not the Swedish Air Force for sure.

It’s a matter of doing it enough times until it sits. I don’t see what kind of risks this brings, because you always make it to the runway in a flying condition. If you never practice it, it will feel weird and strange perhaps, which by itself may be a risk? It’s a simple matter of using the energy you have to your advantage, not let it burn away by doing long finals.

Stabilised approaches are though to be a good thing? Also integration with other aircraft in the circuit.

Long finals? At my airfield we usually make 0.8 NM finals. To be certain of reaching the runway from that distance without power with a typical SEP you would need to be at about 700’ above the field – in zero wind! But maybe you consider 0.8 NM to be a long final? When practicing deadstick landings the final is perhaps half of that.

But more importantly, why single out the traffic circuit where you are flying with greatly reduced power and the risk of engine failure is very low. How do you fly cross-country if you worry that much about engine failures?

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Sebastian_G wrote:

But at the high setting and engine idle it can cut out the engine

I just re-checked checklist on our P210 (similar fuel injection system as the Bo) and it does indeed stress that fact:

Note it says to check pump is OFF before going full rich.

Last Edited by Antonio at 15 May 14:43
LESB, Spain

Easy to say when sitting on the couch (as was said). But things to improve :

  • life vests should probably have been worn (in France it’s mandatory on takeoff over water, not on approach, but since you may depart from the opposite runway you should have vests onboard, might as well put them on)
  • not stalling (the aircraft was too high for a flare, and a flare is not a stall either) – this is the hardest because it’s a natural reflex but is very important ; it’s just like not pushing during a bounce or an early rotation
  • without necessarily being in gliding distance at all times, a steeper approach (a normal one in fact, this one is particularly flat). Whenever intuition fails (even when it doesn’t, just to be sure) there are visual cues which should be used : extend your arm, the aiming point should be 3 fingers below the horizon.
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Airborne_Again wrote:

Stabilised approaches are though to be a good thing?

You can make any approach stabilized. It’s simply a matter of training and doing things the same way each time, and/or use check points and so on. There’s no one way to do it. What we typically learn at PPL, is the power on (slightly above idle), airline-ish approach, usually from the key point. The typical UL way is idle from the key point.

Airborne_Again wrote:

What military? Not the Swedish Air Force for sure.

I’m sure they do this also, if for no other reason than training. But it’s not necessarily the normal way due to other practicalities (such as IFR approaches for instance and other traffic).

Airborne_Again wrote:

But more importantly, why single out the traffic circuit where you are flying with greatly reduced power and the risk of engine failure is very low. How do you fly cross-country if you worry that much about engine failures?

Engine failures in the circuit do happen a lot, relatively speaking, and it’s also the worst possible time it can happen due to the proximity to the ground. At cruising speed where the engine is nice and cozy at design RPM and design power, not a lot can happen. But, funny you should ask. With the new UL regs here a month ago, one change was that all Part FCL automatically gives the right to fly an UL. Part FCL is equal to a UL license in practice, period. Only transitional training on the types is needed. This came as a WTF for us seasoned UL pilots and instructors, who also happen to have a PPL. I know for a fact that some PPL pilots need lots of practice to handle an UL due to low mass, low wing loading, high power to weight, and often quirky behavior (others just fly as if they haven’t done anything else. Oddly wide variation of skills in this respect). Having thought about it and discussed it, it’s nothing that transitional type training wouldn’t fix.

Anyway, NLF came out with a one sider of things to do/be aware of for transitional training for those with Part FCL. One of those things was cross country. Where a PPL pilot would simply make a straight line from A to B, an UL pilot would be better off partitioning this into shorter segments and take into account terrain features, roads etc. Now, if a non certified Rotax is worse than a Lycosaur is a discussion of it’s own, but there is no denying a non certified Rotax is not certified and maintained by the owner/pilot with no formal education or training. There is your answer to your question. The engine could stop at any minute, and this should be accounted for.

The elephant is the circulation

LeSving wrote:

The engine could stop at any minute, and this should be accounted for.

Engines stop in three conditions: 1) at idle, 2) when changing power setting or 3) at takeoff power. Reasons include 1) in idle mixture too fat or too lean, 2) in changing power e.g. doing it too fast and flooding the engine (at our club we lost an airplane on that, on simulated off-field landing the student slammed in the throttle and the idling engine died, 50 feet above ground, no one hurt though) and 3) on takeoff power due to the load (e.g wear) and due to potential error in fuel provisioning (water in fuel, leak in fuel hose etc) that only becomes a problem at high power setting and/or shortly after engine start.

Engine outage during cruise is 99% fuel mismanagement. The remaining 0.99% might be carb icing. And the tiny rest is the horrible part.

I got taught to try not to idle the engine away from the field (when too low to reach the runway), to be cautious when changing power setting and to be very cautious about where to fly in the first 1-2 minutes of the flight (constantly looking for my landing field) and to be prepared to what might happen.

Anyhow. Some mismanagement might have happened in this case of accident here and I assume the pilot was behind the situation.

I agree to flying the approach higher over water or when VFR to fly closer to the field, within gliding range if possible. Makes me happy too, and is not unstable approach.


I don’t want to get into the debate of whether or not landing should be power on or power off. For me it depends on many factors starting with the type of aircraft.
But I would point out that 59% of accidents in France in 2023 come under the category of “approach and landing badly managed”.
So perhaps whether you.are an engine on or engine idle pilot it is perhaps better to perfect it.


@LeSving glad to hear Norway is moving to the same competence based licencing for ULs at it is here.👍


Antonio wrote:

Note it says to check pump is OFF

“Fuel pump off BEFORE landing” sounds very odd to me and is in my opinion a disaster waiting to happen if you fly different types (since the procedure on most aircraft is the other way around AFAIK).

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