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Squawks & HeadlinesPilot Saves Airplane and Passengers After Propeller Falls Off In Flight

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Pilot Saves Airplane and Passengers After Propeller Falls Off In Flight

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A Cessna 172B pilot in Mexico had to save his plane after his airplane propeller detached in flight. Yes, detached. Plonk. You can see the action from the cockpit in this video, including the exhilaration and relief of the passengers at the end. "I've never felt death so near," says one of the women who was travelling in the back. "Our propeller fell," repeats the copilot after getting out of the plane, which landed successfully on a road. Skip to the end to see the Cessna'… (gizmodo.com) More...

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99NY
99NY 7
New pants please.
skuttlerats
Jeffrey Babey 0
I agree, talk about using up your "9 lives" in one day. Better then winning the lottery to walk away from that one.
CaryA
Cary Alburn 4
Until you've actually had to land off airport in a real, not practice, engine out emergency, you're really not equipped to criticize. Been there, done that, don't ever want to do it again. It is scary, although in my case, the realization of how scary didn't occur until some hours after the landing. Part of it was realizing that I'd picked the only perfect field within gliding distance. From any altitude, it's nearly impossible to judge whether a field (or road) is smooth enough to land on, so there's a certain amount of luck and miraculous intervention in the choice. There is no such thing as "it can't happen to me" because it can. And when it does, be very thankful if the result is as successful as this one was.
candybushpilot
candy Sheeran 1
youre right...if you walk away from 'a forced landing' then youve done a good job...candy
BoeingFan59
Troy Raiteri 3
I wonder what the driver was thinking in the car that passed by on the road when they were moving on the road probably like "Oh there's bob over there...man he got a new car didn't he?"
THOSDICK
As a student pilot, I take my hat off to the PIC of that C172B. Job well done, Senor! Bravo! He followed the very first rule of flying, FLY THE AIRPLANE.
Stephenb84
Stephen Boyle 3
I wonder how fast the engine redlines when the prop falls off? Hopefully I never find out.
rhorgan
Bob Horgan 1
Must be quite a surprise to find that your C172 hAS SUDDENLY TURNED INTO A GLIDER.
I wonder if htese guys had plenty of forced landing practice. In these situations all aircraft will behave differently.
johncook1
john cook 1
Go to u-tube reno 2010 sport class.a race plane lost is prop.eng.spins up quick.
Sounds like a zipper.
Jim91010
Notice how the PIC opens his door and apparently jams something into it in case of airframe damage on landing, the door can be opened. You can hear the wind difference too.
MACGSO
MACGSO 2
It's kind of hard to tell, but it looks like the prop flange is still there. If so, then apparently the prop mount bolts either came loose or sheared. Either way, I think I would want to have a serious talk with whoever had the prop off last....
TXCAVU
Good idea, especially had there been a fire.
THOSDICK
The comment about a, "missed item in preflight" is noteworthy, but we don't know if the aircraft had recently been serviced by a mechanic, and he failed to properly secure the prop. Nevertheless, job well done.
rorpinel
This is an example of great team work! The guy in the left seat kept looking for a "clear free of wires" place to land while the instructor in the controls on the right seat continued flying the Cessna. For those who believe is fake, put your headset and listen to the difference of sound during flight and when they are actually gliding to land. My most sincere respect to these guys.
hiflier32
ric lang 1
Having spent 5.5 hours in Leon trying to get an oil change, I can certainly imagine a Mexican Airplane's propeller falling off in flight...good the driver kept the engine running tho, best to keep that battery charged and the heater working.
Bushbunnie
Good plane , excellent pilot
ArchieW
I remember my father hammering into my head, during my flight training, "lose your head, lose your ass" ... GREAT job of maintaining your cool guys.
jjfg317
Jose Gonzalez 1
American flight what ???
christrahan
chris trahan 1
This looks very suspicious. If the propeller left the airplane, the engine would rapidly overspeed and likely suffer a catastrophic failure, but in this video engine noise remained steady till after landing. The pilots look awfully calm, also unlikely if they indeed suffered such an emergency. Maybe I am too skeptical, but if I had just lost a propeller and made an emergency landing, celebration for the video would be the last thing on my mind.
maropers
Mike Ropers 1
Calm pilot - did what he had to do to get it on the ground safely - however I wonder what happened on the preflight? I can't believe that all the bolts magically backed out to the point that the prop fell off without some tell tale evidence prior to take off.
ericmurray
eric murray 1
VERY GOOD JOB!
cervera
Barry Brown 1
I lost a prop when flying a Rutan Long Eze in the UK. In my case I was at 1800 ft and noticed a vibration on the instrument panel I reached forward to touch the gyro hoizon and there was a mighty bang followed by a horrible tearing sound. The engine rpm went crazy and I shut down. At this point I did not know what had happened because in the Rutan the engine is at the back. I called a Mayday and was vectored to a gliding strip. The only way I could make it was to cross directly over a town and land straight ahead. The landing was uneventful but after persuading the crash rescue guys not to foam the a/c, I examined the back of the plane and found that the prop had chewed its way forward thru the trailing edge of the wing RIGHT UP TO THE REAR SPAR. A couple of inches more and it would have been minus a wing. The subsequent investigation showed that the crankshaft had failed ( thru internal corrosion) and the prop, starter ring and a portion of the crankcase went walkabouts. It was later found in a farmers driveway. I had trouble sleeping for a while.
Falconus
Falconus 1
Excellent job!
noelkeegan
noel keegan 1
TWO COOL DUDES THAT IS WHAT I LIKE
falcon2000driver
I agree w Tony guys,the pilots did a great job!I also am a cfi and lost engine power 100 feet above the ground on takeoff on a short runway and had to make an off airport landing.They are really fortunate to have had the training and skill,not to mention altitude ,for more options,and yes luck also,to have found a suitable landing area.
jhakunti
This video looks like they just did a normal landing then cropped the video in the end to make it seem like they're coming out from an already grounded plane. Sorry but I don't hear any difference in engine performance when the propeller allegedly falls off.
FedExCargoPilot
Standard landing, in a 172, you can land in any field, though still scary. I would hang up the certificate right then if I was him, so many things can go wrong.
rmayfld
Hey, those things happen from time to time. As long as the pilot keeps a cool head and continues to control the airplane you have an excellent chance to survive.

Randy Mayfield

CFI
luisavila
luis avila 1
although a 172 is relatively easy to land in any field, it´s a very scary situation! good for the pilot. luis avila
akovia
akovia 1
Pilot was not wearing his shoulder belt? I thought it unusual that pilot would release the controls, turn around in his seat, and give a thumbs up two seconds after the moment of touchdown. One is still flying until the plane stops. Perhaps the right seat pilot was actually flying?
MACGSO
MACGSO 1
Okay, I just took another, closer look. Yes, the prop flange is still there. That eliminates the possibility of the crankshaft breaking (it has happened - not a good thing!) The bolt holes look empty, with no broken-off bolt stubs showing. Did somebody forget the safety wire? Or - maybe they forget to torque the bolts, or overtorqued them, and the trheads stripped? This has to be a maintenance problem, not just a "these things happen" as has been said below! And yes, the pilot did an excellent job in getting the plane down safely.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Missed item in the walk around? The camera appeared to be hand held. PIC should have ordered it stowed and secured. Many do not consider him a hero, but ge gets an "atta boy" and a "Good Job" from me, unles he missed shaking the prop during the walk around. WHOOPS!
WigzellRM
Ralph Wigzell 1
Good job!
TXCAVU
So true. Steve Appleton had a similar experience but stopped flying the airplane. It is critical to know your options in the event of a failure. More work, yes, but it can svae your life by choosing the best available. They had the luxury of altitude; Steve didn't.
BrokenSouls1
BrokenSouls1 1
There is a bit of high pitch grinding on the second clip where they say the propellor is off. Its hard to notice at first, but I'm a sound guy and pilot in training so hearing that sound was easy to notice for me.
TXCAVU
Examine the prop for damage...but shake the prop? Shake the wings to force possible water to the drain.
rorpinel
Yes, from the conversation in spanish you can tell the one in the controls was the instructor in the right seat.
Derg
Roland Dent 1
Macgso..well I would be interviewing the maintenance crew before leading them to a nice provate office or closet for a little lesson in consequences of cause and effect.
TXCAVU
I've seen it before so I believe it. Did you see the damage o the cowling?
Derg
Roland Dent 1
"magically backed out" happens in anything that turns anti clockwise..not magic just Newtonian mechanics..bolts/nuts should be wired to the studs, then wired all together. If you had them with left hand threads they would over tighten and stress up the fixings. Would be interesting to know what method they used.
TXCAVU
Not your time. Bet you did have trouble sleeping and also bet everything around you looked brighter, smelled better. Thank you for sharing the story.
hiflier32
ric lang 1
Excellent dialog....Sounds as if you are a pilot.....Are you?
ptmalm
Pete Martinez 1
"I'd better pick up these bolts or someone might run over them and have a flat"
maropers
Mike Ropers 1
Magically was tongue in cheek ... Maintenance would be suspect here.
BrokenSouls1
BrokenSouls1 1
I dont know exactly what it sounds like but there is an obvious grinding sound during the 2nd clip thats easy to notice.
TXCAVU
Yup. Pipers mostly but I'll fly anything.
padavalos
Pablo Davalos 0
Woow guys.. Great pilots !!!!
conmanflyer
connor oslie -2
now... i can't tell, but is the engine still on? and i have a crappy plane, but im pretty sure my propeller would never fall off, somthing like this just looks bad for GA
dtw757
mike SUT 7
No offense Connor but if you can't tell from looking at the video that the engine is still on, and are making statements like "that would never happen to me", perhaps you shouldn't be involved in GA where statements like those do give General Aviation pilots a bad name. In 23,000+ hours "could never happen to me" has never crossed my mind, because I know better.
For future reference, if the aircraft ends a couple of inches from the windshield in a big flat firewall, with nothing forward of that, then your engine has departed. If the cowling etc is evident such as in the last 20 seconds of the video...there a high probability that there is an engine still on it. Cheers :-)
hiflier32
ric lang 1
No offense Mike, but after reading this guy's comment, I'm of the opinion that he meant "Is the engine still running", not "Is it still attached to the airplane"...You have 23k hours? 23k hours of what? You arent listed on the FAA Airman's Registry website.

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hiflier32
ric lang 1
Think this will be my last entry on this thread, but have to disagree w/ your statement of few with these hours.....If you were to read Ernie Gann's "Fate is the Hunter" there were/are hundreds of greybeards with those hours, guys that flew the mail, checks, freight, then went with the airlines,,Gann himself had 23k hours before he left American.
Jetlinda
I see you are not an experienced pilot. I flew 8 hours a night, 5 nights a week as a freight dog so that kind of time is not unusual. For weekend warrior perhpas, but not for a professional.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Jetlinda
I've been a professional pilot for 37 years. Along the way I've been a freight pilot, commuter pilot, flight instructor, FlightSafety International Citation Program Manager, corporate pilot, and designated examiner for ATP and CE-500s. I'm typed in Lears and Citations and have almost as much jet time as you have total. I'm also the author of the book, Flying Jets, McGraw-Hill, 1995. I'm afraid I don't understand why my correction of the misconception you and others expressed about total times makes me "just another chairborne bullshitter."

By the way, have you ever landed a jet airplane on a gravel road north of Mogadishu, Somalia. I have. Also did some training and checkrides for folks in Nairobi, Kenya, and Entebbe, Uganda.
hiflier32
ric lang 1
So Linda................Really got irritated by that Schneider guy, so looked him up....either he's a private, or a commercial with an outdated medical, it would appear that even I have more time in inside loops than this guy has in cross country.....was not going to continue this thread but that guy stepped out of line...............

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jonprovencher
Isn't compacency one of the biggest killers in aviation? just sayin...
linbb
Boyd Butler 1
If the engine fell of Conner the airplane would have crashed as you cannot control a single engine airplane without the engine still being attached due to the weight and balance. Thought that you would know that having a crappy plane
Anthony56
Hey guys, by "is the engine still on" I think he meant is the engine still running... All very good points though.
charles77598
These guys kept their heads. Normally you look at your trim edges and prop before takeoff. This is very unusual for all the bolts to come out of a prop in flight. Would love to know what lead up to this incident. Good job on finding a road o land on.
gmmvi
George Miller 1
Yeah. I understood him to mean "Is the engine still running", and I wondered why the pilot didn't turn the engine OFF, and turn the fuel selectors to OFF in order to minimize fire risk. I don't understand what good a propellerless engine serves.
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Tha e article said he let it run for power. I assume he meant the electric power. But, the battery should have been good enough for the short time they were airborn without a prop. Safety says shut down the engine.
zcolescott
First of all, not a Cessna 172B...more like a 172N, but nevertheless. Second, "I've never felt death so near"?? The aircraft is high enough over such sparse terrain that he can pick from a multitude of places to land it. Good Lord...the news always makes everything so dramatic *rolls eyes*
thernandez2
During my years of CFI flying, I have seen plenty of rated pilots who don't practice this emergency screw it up repeatedly...THIS was an emergency...no chance of a restart here! Give the guy a lot of credit, he did well! The media always makes it dramatic! That's their job!
whip5209
Ken McIntyre 1
I almost posted about the same thing as you, Tony. Even though the area is "arid" and "flat" or "sparse", the brush in Mexico is big and tough. And the pilots were extremely lucky to have a good road to land on. I've spent a lot of time in Mexico, I know what I'm talking about. This was a great job by the pilots under very difficult conditions. According to the youtube video, this occurred near in Aguascalientes.
TXCAVU
This is exactly why we practice engine outs. Lot os mountains down there...wasn't their time.
pfp217
pfp217 1
Agreed, beyond that that sparse terrain looked pretty hilly and downright mountainous in parts..so he found his spot, set up for it and made a safe emergency landing!
deltaags
The plane landed about 15 miles west of Aguascalientes (MMAS), for any one interested you can look for more info with the registration number that you can see in the video.
Ivan the pilot is a low hour pilot, all the job was done by Charly (the guy in the right hand seat) a great flying instructor with thousand´s of hours in his log.

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Derg
Roland Dent 1
tell'em Karl...tell 'em..

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Derg
Roland Dent 1
Hahha yes..
pfp217
pfp217 1
I'm from Central IL so it all looked rugged and rough to me!!