Accident reviews on this page:
Engine Failure Related Accidents
Accidents after engine failure continue to happen. A list with more than 395 reported accidents with multi-engine airplanes since Jan. 1996 can be downloaded here; more than 3,600 people lost their lives during these unnecessary accidents. Unnecessary? Yes, most of them definitely, because if pilots would have been made aware of the limitations that apply for controlling their airplanes while an engine is inoperative and the power setting of the remaining engine is high, these accidents would not have happened.
Regrettably, flight manuals of most multi-engine airplanes and courseware for a multi-engine rating present definitions of the minimum control speed VMC(A) and engine emergency procedures that are not in agreement anymore with airplane design methods and flight-test techniques.
AvioConsult reviewed more than 300 accident investigation reports and concluded that none of them presented the real cause of the accidents and hence did not recommend the appropriate improvements to really improve aviation safety, see below. It became clear that neither the mishap pilots nor the accident investigators and in some cases not even the writers of airplane flight manuals and courseware knew about the real value and the limitations of air minimum control speed VMCA (and of takeoff safety speed V2) for the controllability and performance of their airplane following an engine failure or while an engine was inoperative. A number of training manuals were also reviewed and are also briefly discussed.
The sole purpose of publishing the comments
below is to help prevent accidents after engine failure from happening
again. Please feel free to read or download and learn from these
comments. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions remaining.
On the Downloads page, free papers explaining the controllability and performance while one of the engines of a multi-engine airplane is inoperative are presented, as well as a link to an interesting on-line One Engine Inoperative Trainer of the University of North Dakota. Click here for direct access to this trainer.
Reviews of accident investigation reports
A limited number of investigation reports were reviewed by AvioConsult. Please refer to the links in the list in the left column, or browse further down.
If you would like an accident to be reviewed, please don't hesitate to ask.
If you would like to learn how to control an airplane after engine failure, or how to analyze engine failure related accidents using Flight Data Recorder data, click here.
Britten Norman BN-2, Bonaire 22 Oct. 2009
A BN-2 ditched very close to the destination island Bonaire (Caribean) following
an engine failure shortly after takeoff from Curaçao. The passengers could escape and were rescued;
the pilot regrettably died in the accident. The accident investigation was conducted by the
Dutch Safety Board.
The accident investigation report with many comments, written by AvioConsult using experimental flight-test expertise, is available for download:
Lockheed C-130H, Netherlands 15 July 1996
A C-130H Hercules crashed at Eindhoven Airbase in the Netherlands
following the failure of engines #1 and #2 due to bird ingestion
during a go-around that was initiated just prior to touchdown. Engine #3 was
was shutdown by the crew, either before the approach or just
before #1 and #2 failed.
The pilots of the airplane and the accident investigators did not know about the real value of the minimum control speeds of the airplane, not about the factors that influence VMCA, not how the magnitude of VMCA can be 'controlled' by the pilots and not what VMCA really means for the controllability and safety of flight before and after engine failure, despite the fact that Lockheed provided good VMCA data and explanations, including control limitations, in the airplane flight manual as well as in a very good publication 'C-130 low speed flying qualities' that is available to all C-130 pilots.
The Flight and Performance Manuals of the C-130H airplane present numerous warnings, cautions and notes on propulsion system malfunctions, explain the reduced controllability after engine failure and present recommended flight techniques and the consequences if these are not adhered to. Lockheed did a good job, but the warnings, cautions and notes are regrettably not understood by most pilots.
Cause of the accident
Cessna 404, Australia 11 Aug. 2003
Shortly after liftoff, while still over the runway, the right engine
failed. The pilot retracted the landing gear, selected flaps up
and feathered the right propeller and then, at very low altitude,
turned left, into the operating engine, to return for landing.
One of the conclusions in the report was: The aircraft was
manoeuvred, including turns and banks, at low altitude resulting in a decrease
in airspeed below that required to maximise one-engine inoperative performance.
Cause of the accident
The accident investigation report did not include the effect of bank angle on VMCA and the necessity for a 5 degree bank angle into the good engine as a life-saving factor that influences both the controllability and the one engine inoperative climb performance. Pilot and accident investigators were obviously not familiar with the effect of bank angle on both VMCA and the airplane performance, may be because it was never taught to them.
Beech C90, Australia 27 Nov. 2001
Just prior to, or at about the time the aircraft became airborne, the left engine failed. After liftoff, the aircraft remained airborne for about 20 seconds. The aircraft was rolling through about 90 degrees left bank, it struck power lines about 10 m above ground level and about 560 m beyond the end of the runway. It then continued to roll left and impacted the ground inverted in a steep nose-low attitude.
Cause of the accident
AvioConsult wrote a letter to the CEO of Raytheon Aircraft Company on 8 August 2006 expressing concerns about the definitions and the engine emergency procedures in the operator manual of the Beech King Air C90 and to present recommendations to improve. Ratheon never responded.
Boeing 737-200, Algeria 6 March 2003
Just after passing V1, an engine failed. Almost immediately after
liftoff, control of the airplane was lost and the airplane crashed,
killing all but one on-board.
Cause of the accident
AvioConsult recommended Boeing in July 2005 to improve the procedures, but Boeing responded that 'there was no compelling reason to change the procedures'.
Piper PA-31, New Zealand, 17 Dec 2002
Shortly after takeoff, the left engine
quit operating for unknown reasons. The pilot feathered the
propeller and returned to the airport for landing.
Piper PA-31P, Australia, 15 June 2010
While passing 7000 ft, the right engine
failed and was shutdown. The airplane returned to the departure airport, but
crash landed a few miles short of the airport on a road.
Piper PA-44-180, Netherlands 14 August 2002
A Piper PA-44-180 Seminole, owned and operated by Martinair Flight School in The Netherlands, crashed in a lake, killing an instructor and two students during a demonstration of flight with an inoperative engine. The Dutch Transport Safety Board thoroughly investigated the accident and concluded that following the intentional shut down of the left engine, the fuel valve of the right engine was inadvertently closed rather than the valve of the left engine, after which the right engine quit as well and an emergency landing became unavoidable, according to the report. The report also concludes that the airspeed decreased below the stall speed, after which control of the airplane was lost at an altitude from which recovery was not possible.
But to the opinion of AvioConsult, this was not the cause of the accident. Neither the pilots nor the investigators did know about the limitations of a minimum control speed. A VMCA, although never determined, also exists due to asymmetrical drag (yawing moment) caused by one feathered propeller and the other not feathered.
Documentation review PA-44-180. The formal accident investigation report did not report on the training documentation used by the flight school. AvioConsult therefore asked, and received permission, to review the airplane and training documents. Many errors and deficiencies were found.
This analysis will also be useful to operators of other multi-engine airplane types.
AvioConsult wrote a letter to the CEO of The New Piper Aircraft, Inc.
on 9 August 2006 expressing concerns about the imperfections in the
Pilot's Information Manuals of Piper Aircraft and to present
recommendations for improvement.
Mitsubishi MU-2B, USA 10 Dec. 2004
Shortly after takeoff, the left engine failed. The pilot returned for landing via a left-hand circuit; the left propeller was feathered. The airplane did overshoot the final approach of runway 35R and was cleared to the next runway 28. The landing lights were then seen turning down toward the terrain. The airplane crashed; the two souls onboard were fatally injured.
The analysis of this accident is included in the paper Airplane Control and Accident Investigation after Engine Failure, please refer to the Downloads page.
Boeing 747, Netherlands 4 October 1992
after takeoff, both engines dropped off the right
wing due to a fuse pin failure of pylon #3. The pilots decided to return to
the airport and initiated a right hand turn (in the direction of the 'dead'
engines). During the second right hand turn to position for
the approach, the airspeed
was decreased, obviously to a value below the actual minimum control speed VMCA2, upon which control of the airplane was
lost and the airplane crashed in a residential area.
The huge effect of bank angle on VMCA and VMCA2
was not considered by the accident investigators. This effect is calculated and illustrated in
Paper The Effect of Bank Angle and Weight on VMCA that is also available for download:
Please also refer to the comments on the Boeing 737 FCTM above.
Ten minutes after takeoff from runway
24, an oil pressure warning of the right engine (#2) made the captain
decide to return to the airport. He left the affected engine #2
idling; its propeller was not-feathered. The wind was 270/ 11 kt
when the captain accepted landing runway 06. On short final,
with an actual wind of 280/ 8 kt, the airplane was displaced
to the right. At 45 ft Radar Altitude, the captain
therefore decided to go-around using the thrust of the left engine
only; the right engine was kept idling. The airplane crashed 13 seconds later,
far to the right of the runway.
A De Havilland DHC-6-100 airplane carrying skydivers crashed into trees and terrain after takeoff. Witnesses at the airport reported that, shortly after the airplane lifted off from the runway, flames emitted from the airplane’s right engine.
During the takeoff of an EMB-120ER twin-turboprop airplane for a revalidating command instrument rating, the training and checking captain retarded the left power lever to zero torque just after liftoff. The airplane crashed, both pilots died in the accident.
The Safety Report was reviewed and many suggestions for improvement were included. This review is to learn more about airplane control after engine failure.
Download the safety report with review and learn more about investigating engine failure related accidents.
During takeoff, at about the instant of rotation, 5 sec. before liftoff, the right (#2) engine failed; the takeoff was continued. Control was lost shortly after liftoff, the airplane crashed.
The thorough analysis of this accident on control after engine failure is included in the paper Airplane Control and Accident Investigation after Engine Failure, please refer to the Downloads page. | TOP
During final approach, a go-around was initiated. The left engine failed, after which control was lost. The airplane crashed, killing both persons on board.
The accident report was reviewed, and comments and recommendation for improvement of Airplane and Training Manuals are presented. | TOP
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