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Squawks & HeadlinesPilot's story of a double engine failure in a C421

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Pilot's story of a double engine failure in a C421

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Great story written by Cessna 421 pilot, Brett Godfrey, detailing his double engine failure in night IMC over mountainous terrain. (www.brettgodfrey.com) More...

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HunterTS4
Toby Sharp 0
good good read
tomspann
Tom Spann 0
Excellant, educational and good training for me. I flew a 1968 421 between July 1968 and May 1970. We went through the cessna "Red Carpet" training and this type engine shut down was never mentioned. As Brett comented the pilot handbook emergency procedures is void on an over rich engine flood out. We ran our Engines to 1800hrs and grounded the bird for engine change. Our major problems were sticking waste gates and the cold oil operating the waste gates. We changed our run up check list to enclude slowly advancing an engine to at least 35 inches MP after our 1700 RPM mag and prop check. This circulated warm oil in all the plumbing before take off. Thanks Brett for a real time "pilot report" on the 421 fuel system we can all benefit from.
Pecolaguy
Pecolaguy 0
Great story, and a good case of flying the plane.
EmeraldRocket
Terrific story. I can easily see "missing" the mixture on the good engine. A lot of stuff up there can bite you. NICE flying.
tedtimmons
tedtimmons 0
WOW - not many people live to tell about a double engine failure at night, in IMC and over mountainous terrain! WOW
crazypilot69
Jose Carlos 0
Well done, the most important it´s to keep fliying the palne like he did, thing that alot of pilot forget. Excellant!!
preacher1
preacher1 0
Darn good piece of flying. Just goes to show that you need to know how to fly the plane, cause everything ain't in the book.
yock
I think it can be truly said: I learned about flying from that.
PilotKJL
Kris Lichter 0
Both an amazing story and job flying the airplane under the toughest of circumstances. I think my mouth got a little dry reading that one.
htthree
Harry Thomas 0
What a remarkable story! I was on the edge of my seat!
dgjones
DONALD JONES 0
Great story and well told. I wonder at the engine fuel metering system set up that would allow the same thing to happen to both engines, when the problem is not 'well known.' The story mentions the problem only in the left engine, however the failure appeared to be related, i.e. failure after power reduction.
vettdvr
James Corkern 0
SE minimum control speed is critical. If you allow the airspeed to fall below it there is no way you can keep flying. Stall will happen. You MUST maintain airspeed above SEMCS. He really did the right thing by giving up altitude for control. There is no substitute for practice and experience.
JCCasebeer
John Casebeer 0
This man is obviously an excellent pilot and made the right decisions given the circumstance. In 1966 we had a simultaneous failure of both engines on a Navy C 117. Very exciting. The engines started later so we could land normally. You guessed it, water in the fuel.
ljbowdish
Larry Bowdish 0
Hal Stoen has a story about a similar kind of incident.
http://stoenworks.com/Last%20flight%20of%205376%20Xray.html

I thought that particular problem was solved with the "C" model
flyguyph
Paul Hensel 0
Great job Brett. I could not pass up reading this one, being an Aerostar pilot. I am a little supprised seeing the ground track that you were turned away from the airport to intercept the localizer. Especially after reading this story, wouldn't it make sence to be vectored closer and circle down much closer to the field in case of any issue with the only power being produced. At that time of night traffic had to be light and being in VMC. Obviously tight turns while single engine is not wise, but the turn was made, just too far from the airport in my opinion. Obvoiusly, Monday morning quarterbacking here I know.
Thankful for your safety and again, GREAT GREAT job of flying.
crk112
crk112 0
Naturally the FAA looks for some reason to yell at this guy ('chastised him for not having his license on him')...

Great job and *I'M* glad to see you made it in safely... unlike the FAA.
q2fred
Nice work by an excellent pilot. Brett probably doesn't care to know, but why did the right engine restart? Did the windmilling "unfouled" the plugs?
KathyMcNeil
Kathy McNeil 0
Yet another example of why recurrent simulator training is invaluable. Great job!
JCCasebeer
John Casebeer 0
Was this a C421A, B or C?
albatros39driver
I teach/convert pilots to fly ex-mil jets,and we practice engine failures and forced landing patterns preferably near an airfield to accomodate a low approach or landing.The pattern starts in the overhead about 4-5000feet AGL,and is then a continuous wide spiral,adjusting for wind,aiming initially for a point 1/3 into the runway,and then adjusting using gear,flaps ,airbrakes. I always teach students to `never turn your back on the airfield/selected area`,even if you are too high,just do another 360 in the overhead.Ther hardest forced landing to do is one directly into a runway,ie straight-in..
So a bit of `Monday morning in the crew-room`, as like`flyguyph` says, being either directed to turn away to re-intercept the Loc.would not be my choice,unless,unless I was avoiding weather or IMC,always go direct..
I`m also reminded of an fatal accident to a Malibu that suffered an engine failure at altitude,was directed by radar to an airfield,but could not see it due to bad inversion haze,as it was directly under the aircraft,and so they were further directed out to turn in at about 8-10 miles finalapproach ;they crashed and died about 1.1/2 miles short of the runway .
Of course,here I`ve been talking about single-engined aircraft,but even
so,it is still worth consideration as happened in this case.
Having said all that ,I can only say that Brett did an excellent job,given the circumstances,and the cards he was dealt,especially that these things happen when you can be in a fatigued state,at the end of the day ,and across hostile terrain. I`m sure we can all learn from his experience.Well Done..
Captrld
Roger Duncan 0
That was a hair raiser and a job well done! It vindicates the need for remaining current in type and for regular proficiency checks. You can bet that training organizations will be going to school on this one.
Midwaymike
Mike Lowe 0
Super Job!! Great story.
dgjones
DONALD JONES 0
I hate to post a second time, but I wonder why the criticism is needed. Godfrey did hold the SSE, he ended up on a vector from center and broke out of the clouds with the field to his left shoulder [and high], he was on SE and under control, looking for an IFR type approach to a strange field at night. Why not turn make the approach correctly? So the second engine quit and he has a different problem. He did everything right or he wouldn't be here - given of course on the start of the right engine. . . .
cparks
cparks 0
I call BS on the reluctance to turn away from the airport. He was in a multi-engine airplane folks, in IMC. Fly the procedure. Do the thing you trained to do, not some esoteric procedure that *may* be necessary one time in a million.

It was extremely unlikely to lose one engine. It is infinitely improbable, short of pilot error, to lose the second engine later. BTW, does the 421 manual caution the use of fuel pump in high without releaning? Just a question.

Kudos to the pilot for pushing back panic and flying his plane.
billbenham
bill benham 0
Hmmm. Checked fuel flow on the left side but not on the right side?
dgjones
DONALD JONES 0
This is the third and last time I respond to this story. 'Hmmm checked fuel on left side and not on the right side?' Please read the story again. He checked the fuel flow on the left side to ensure that was the dead engine. A perfectly perfect thing to do.
tomspann
Tom Spann 0
bill benham. can you read. I can't beleive you would be negitive about the wonderful piloting skills and calmness of this man handleing this emergency
Tom Spann
ATP
2500 hrs in a 421
blazyranch
Tom Bass 0
I give Brett Godfrey an "A" for handling the emergency and getting the aircraft on the ground but an "F" in judgment. Brett Godfrey acknowledged he took off after a long day at the end of a long week in court in San Jose and landed in Salt Lake to drop off his client. He then acknowledged he was tired but "get homeitise" drove him to take-off into winter weather over the Rockies. We wonder why General Aviation is viewed so negatively by the public. How many pilots and inocent passengers are killed each year due to "get homeitise"? In my opinion, he never should have been in the air. I've been flying for forty years and for the last ten years in a 421, I make it a point after a long day or long week working to stay one more night and fly back home refreshed. Hopefully, Brett Godfrey will reconsider the importance of getting home, especially when he has passengers on board his aircraft.
billbenham
bill benham 0
So you check your fuel flow and everything else you can check on a suspected dead engine before feathering, right? Of course this is provided that you have a little extra time as did this pilot when he lost the left side. So why not do the same thing when he lost the right side? Then he might have noticed a high fuel flow and tried leaning a bit and might have gotten power again. I said might have. BTW I have 1600+ hours multi-engine and 300+ hours in Cessna pressurized twins and I've actually totalled one out at 12000 feet over central Mississippi. You can read all about it in NTSB under the tail number N1477D.
mdlacey
Matt Lacey 0
As to the direction of the turn to final, I was taught in Flight Dynamics in engineering school to always bank into the operating engine. Seems like a 270d right turn was the right call.

Also, I'm not sure how get homeitis contributed to the problem. It was a hardware malfunction that would have happened the next day too.
flyguyph
Paul Hensel 0
Matt, no problem with the direction of the turn, just seems like it should have started closer to or over the field, if not to the south of the field.
cparks, i'm pretty sure he said he could see the field and was under the clouds prior to the turn. In IMC i'm with you. Sitting here, we really do not know the exact conditions, ATC was probably setting him up for exactly what he did, possibly being in IMC. He may have just seen the airport prior to the turn and judged it not wise to adjust the inbound flight more to the south for a closer turn. Either way, thankful we are discussing a flight that ended so well.
Again, I'm very reluctant to comment about this outstanding piloting job. I'm just offering my input and saying out loud what i will be taking away from this story. Also soaking up all other comments made. I'm still learning. :)
alfadog
alfadog 0
First off, great job on flying the airplane and getting home safely. I am just a 172 driver but wonder if there is any reason he would not have wanted to lean the right engine? I can understand firewalling everything as part of the engine-out scenario but shouldn't he have leaned once established in single-engine cruise?
Also, re the Stoen story, he altered the N-number on the airplane but I checked into it a bit back and the FAA has a different story - they cite pilot error re fuel management. FWIW.
alfadog
alfadog 0
NTSB, not FAA. Duh.