Updated: Dec 18, 2020

Engine Failure After Liftoff Lesson by wifiCFI


To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with an engine failure after liftoff.


The applicant demonstrates understanding of: 

Factors affecting VMC.

Vmc (red line) and Vyse (blue line).

Accelerate/stop distance and accelerate/go distance.

How to identify and correctly secure the inoperative engine. 

Importance of drag reduction, to include propeller feathering, gear and flap retraction, proper bank angle into operating engine and inclinometer ball coordination. 

Zero-thrust procedures.

Risk Management

The applicant demonstrates the ability to identify, assess and mitigate risks, encompassing: 

Failure to plan for engine failure after liftoff. 

Collision hazards, to include aircraft, terrain, obstacles, and wires. 

Improper aircraft configuration. 

Low altitude maneuvering/stall/spin. 

Distractions, loss of situational awareness, and/or improper task management.

Engine Failure After Liftoff (AFH C12)

A takeoff or go-around is the most critical time to suffer an engine failure. 

The airplane will be slow, close to the ground, and may even have landing gear and flaps extended. 

Altitude and time is minimal. Until feathered, the propeller of the failed engine is windmilling, producing a great deal of drag and yawing tendency. 

Airplane climb performance is marginal or even non-existent, and obstructions may lie ahead. 

An emergency contingency plan and safety brief should be clearly understood well before the takeoff roll commences. 

An engine failure before a predetermined airspeed or point results in an aborted takeoff. 

An engine failure after a certain airspeed and point, with the gear up, and climb performance assured results in a continued takeoff.

Accelerate/Stop Distance

Accelerate-stop distance is the runway required to accelerate to either Vr or Vlof (as specified by the manufacturer) and, assuming an engine failure at that instant, to bring the airplane to a complete stop.

See “Multi-Engine Performance Charts” for an example on how to run the chart.

Accelerate/Go Distance

Accelerate-go distance is the distance required to accelerate to either Vr or Vlof (as specified by the manufacturer) and, assuming an engine failure at that instant, to continue the takeoff on the remaining engine and climb to a height of 50 feet.

Landing Gear Down

If the engine failure occurs prior to selecting the landing gear to the UP position: 

Keep the nose as straight as possible, close both throttles, allow the nose to maintain airspeed and descend to the runway. 

Concentrate on a normal landing and do not force the aircraft on the ground. Land on the remaining runway or overrun.

Landing Gear Up, Inadequate Climb Performance

When operating near or above the single-engine ceiling and an engine failure is experienced shortly after lift-off, a landing must be accomplished on whatever essentially lies ahead. 

There is also the option of continuing ahead, in a descent at VYSE with the remaining engine producing power, as long as the pilot is not tempted to remain airborne beyond the airplane’s performance capability. 

Remaining airborne and bleeding off airspeed in a futile attempt to maintain altitude is almost invariably fatal. 

Landing under control is paramount.

Landing Gear Up, Adequate Climb Performance

If the single-engine rate of climb is adequate, the procedures for continued flight should be followed. 

There are four areas of concern: control, configuration, climb, and checklist.


The first consideration following engine failure during takeoff is to maintain control of the airplane. 

Maintaining directional control with prompt and often aggressive rudder application and STOPPING THE YAW is critical to the safety of flight. 

Ensure that airspeed stays above VMC. 

If the yaw cannot be controlled with full rudder applied, reducing thrust on the operative engine is the only alternative. 

Attempting to correct the roll with aileron without first applying rudder increases drag and adverse yaw and further degrades directional control. 

After rudder is applied to stop the yaw, a slight amount of aileron should be used to bank the airplane toward the operative engine. 

This is the most efficient way to control the aircraft, minimize drag, and gain the most performance. 


The memory items from the Engine Failure After Takeoff checklist should be promptly executed to configure the airplane for climb. 

The specific procedures to follow are found in the AFM/POH and checklist for the particular airplane. 

Most direct the pilot to assume VYSE, set takeoff power, retract the flaps and landing gear, identify, verify, and feather the failed engine.


As soon as directional control is established and the airplane configured for climb, the bank angle should be reduced to that producing best climb performance. 

Without specific guidance for zero sideslip, a bank of 2° and one-third to one-half ball deflection on the slip/skid indicator is suggested. 

VYSE is maintained with pitch control. 

As turning flight reduces climb performance, climb should be made straight ahead or with shallow turns to avoid obstacles to an altitude of at least 400 feet AGL before attempting a return to the airport.


Having accomplished the memory items from the Engine Failure After Takeoff checklist, the printed copy should be reviewed as time permits. 

The Securing Failed Engine checklist should then be accomplished. 

Unless the pilot suspects an engine fire, the remaining items should be accomplished deliberately and without undue haste. 

Airplane control should never be sacrificed to execute the remaining checklists. 

The priority items have already been accomplished from memory.


Maintain directional control

Pitch, attitude, airspeed

Mixtures, Props, Throttles full forward

Flaps up, gear up

Identify with the “dead foot”

Verify by closing the throttle

Feather the inoperative prop

Common Errors

Failure to promptly recognize engine failure

Failure to promptly accomplish memory items

Failure to maintain directional control of the airplane

Failure to maintain Vyse or Vxse as appropriate

Failure to correctly and promptly configure the aircraft

Failure to establish a Zero Sideslip condition

ACS Standards

Recognize a simulated engine failure, maintain control and utilize appropriate emergency procedures. 

Establish VYSE; if obstructions are present, establish VXSE or VMC +5 knots, whichever is greater, until obstructions are cleared. 

Then transition to VYSE. 

Reduce drag by retracting landing gear and flaps as appropriate. 

Simulate feathering the propeller on the inoperative engine (evaluator should then establish a zero-thrust on the inoperative engine). 

Bank toward the operating engine as required for best performance. 

Monitor operating engine and make adjustments as necessary. 

Recognize the airplane’s performance capabilities. 

If a climb is not possible at VYSE, maintain VYSE and return to the departure airport for landing, or initiate an approach to the most suitable landing area available. 

Simulate securing the inoperative engine. 

Maintain heading ±10°, and airspeed ±5 knots. 

Complete the appropriate checklist. 

FAA Sources Used for This Lesson

Airmen Certification Standards (ACS)

Airplane Flying Handbook (AFH) Chapter 12

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