Pilot Surveys on Identification of a Failed Engine in Twin-Engine Propeller Aircraft

Main Article Content

Andrey K. Babin
Dr. Andrew R. Dattel

Abstract

Twin-engine propeller aircraft accidents occur for many reasons including human factors, such as misidentifying a failed engine. Engine misidentification has led to several fatal accidents. Babin, Dattel, & Klemm (2020) found that, in a simulated engine failure scenario, using a visual indicator for engine identification resulted in significantly lower response time than the “dead leg-dead engine” procedure. To better understand the pilot perspective regarding the issue of engine failure and the method used for the identification of a failed engine, opinions and feedback were collected via surveys. Method: Two surveys were created and distributed among pilots to gather their opinions regarding the issue. Survey One was completed by airline pilots operating twin-engine turboprop aircraft; Survey Two was completed by instructor pilots operating light single- and twin-engine piston aircraft. Results: Forty-nine airline pilots and twenty-three instructor pilots responded to the survey. The average flight experience was 6,000+ flight hours/nine years for airline pilots and 420 flight hours/four years for instructor pilots. Approximately nineteen percent of airline pilots and half of the instructor pilots had had to utilize the engine-out procedure in their prior experience. Most respondents felt comfortable with the current method of identification of a failed engine. Twenty-nine percent of airline pilots and fourteen percent of instructor pilots agreed with the statement that there could be a better method of identification of a failed engine. Forty percent of all pilots who provided suggestions for improvement to the current method (both surveys combined) recommended adding a visual indicator to help with the identification. The results of the surveys provide greater insight into the problem of engine misidentification and suggest that many pilots favor visual cues, supporting findings described in Babin et al. (2020).

Article Details

Section
Peer-Reviewed Articles
Author Biography

Dr. Andrew R. Dattel, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Andy Dattel is Associate Professor in the School of Graduate Studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, USA, and the Director of the Cognitive Engineering Research in Transportation Systems Lab. He holds a PhD in experimental psychology with a concentration in human factors from Texas Tech University.

References

Aviation Safety Council (2016). Aviation occurrence report: 4 February, 2015, TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 ATR72-212A, loss of control and crashed into Keelung river three nautical miles east of Songshan airport (Report No.: ASC-AOR-16-06-001).

Babin, A. K., Dattel, A. R., & Klemm, M. F. (2020). An alternative method for identifying a failed engine in twin-engine propeller aircraft. Aviation Psychology and Applied Human Factors, 10(2), 103–111. doi:10.1027/2192-0923/a000195

Boyd, D. D. (2015). Causes and risk factors for fatal accidents in non-commercial twin engine piston general aviation aircraft. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 77, 113-119.

Bramson, A. E., & Birch, N. H. (1973). Pilot’s guide to flight emergency procedures. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.

Federal Aviation Administration (2021). Airplane Flying Handbook. Oklahoma City, OK.

Garmin (2020, December 15). Smart Rudder Bias: Safety-enhancing technology for select twin-engine piston aircraft [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.garmin.com/en-US/blog/aviation/smart-rudder-bias-safety-enhancing-technology-for-select-twin-engine-piston-aircraft/

Geruschat, D. R., & Smith, A. J. (2010). Low vision for orientation and mobility. In Wiener, W. R., Welsch, R. L., Blasch, B. B. (Eds), Foundations of orientation and mobility (3rd ed., Vol. 1), pp. 63-83. New York, NY: AFB Press.

Harris, D. (2011). Human Performance on the Flight Deck. Surrey, England; Burlington, VT. : Ashgate

Hecht, D., & Reiner, M. (2008). Sensory dominance in combinations of audio, visual and haptic stimuli. Experimental Brain Research, 193, 307–314. doi: 10.1007/s00221-008-1626-z

Martin, W. L., Murray, P. S., Bates, P. R., & Lee, P. S. Y. (2016). A flight simulator study of the impairment effects of startle on pilots during unexpected critical events. Aviation Psychology and Applied Human Factors, 6(1), 24-32. doi: 10.1027/2192-0923/a000092

National Transportation Safety Board (n.d.). National Transportation Safety Board aviation accident final report (Accident No. LAX92MA1183). Retrieved from

https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19920422-1

Niu, Y., Xue, C., Zhou, X., Zhou, L., Xie., Yi, Wang, H., … Jin, T. (2019). Which is more prominent for fighter pilots under different flight task difficulties: Visual alert or verbal alert? International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 72, 146-157. doi: 10.1016/j.ergon.2019.05.010

South African Civil Aviation Authority (n.d.). Jetstream aircraft 4100 ZS-NRM: Loss of control after engine failure and misidentified engine shutdown after take-off from Durban Airport, South Africa, on 24 September 2009 (Report No. CA18/2/3/8692). Retrieved from:

https://reports.aviation-safety.net/2009/20090924-0_JS41_ZS-NRM.pdf

Sallee, G. P., & Gibbons, D. M. (1999). Propulsion system malfunction plus inappropriate crew response (PSM+ICR). Flight Safety Digest, 18, 1-193.

Ulfvengren, P., Martensson, L., & Singer, G. (2001). Auditory and visual warnings in aircraft. IFAC proceedings volumes, 34(16), 53-57. doi: 10.1016/S1474-6670(17)41501-1

Xu, Y., O'Keefe, S., Suzuki, S., & Franconeri, S. L. (2012). Visual influence on haptic torque perception. Perception, 41(7), 862-870. doi: 10.1068/p7090