Maneuvering One Engine Inoperative Lesson by wifiCFI


To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with one engine inoperative.


The applicant demonstrates understanding of: 

Factors affecting VMC.

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

How to identify and 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. 

Feathering and zero-thrust procedures.

Risk Management

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

Failure to plan for engine failure during flight. 

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 Maneuvering (AFH C12)

Engine failures well above the ground are handled differently than those occurring at lower speeds and altitudes. 

Cruise airspeed allows better airplane control and altitude, which may permit time for a possible diagnosis and remedy of the failure. 

Maintaining airplane control, however, is still paramount. 

Airplanes have been lost at altitude due to apparent fixation on the engine problem to the detriment of flying the airplane.

Not all engine failures or malfunctions are catastrophic in nature (catastrophic meaning a major mechanical failure that damages the engine and precludes further engine operation). 

Many cases of power loss are related to fuel starvation, where restoration of power may be made with the selection of another tank. 

An orderly inventory of gauges and switches may reveal the problem. 

Carburetor heat or alternate air can be selected. 

The affected engine may run smoothly on just one magneto or at a lower power setting. 

Altering the mixture may help. 

If fuel vapor formation is suspected, fuel boost pump operation may be used to eliminate flow and pressure fluctuations.

Although it is a natural desire among pilots to save an ailing engine with a precautionary shutdown, the engine should be left running if there is any doubt as to needing it for further safe flight. 

Catastrophic failure accompanied by heavy vibration, smoke, blistering paint, or large trails of oil, on the other hand, indicate a critical situation. 

The affected engine should be feathered and the Securing Failed Engine checklist completed. 

The pilot should divert to the nearest suitable airport and declare an emergency with ATC for priority handling.

If the airplane is above its single-engine absolute ceiling at the time of engine failure, it slowly loses altitude. 

The pilot should maintain VYSE to minimize the rate of altitude loss. 

This “drift down” rate is greatest immediately following the failure and decreases as the single-engine ceiling is approached. 

Due to performance variations caused by engine and propeller wear, turbulence, and pilot technique, the airplane may not maintain altitude even at its published single-engine ceiling. 

Any further rate of sink, however, would likely be modest.


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

Fix or Feather?

When to Feather the inoperative engine:

With insufficient altitude

If the engine failure is expected to be catastrophic

When to attempt Fixing the inoperative engine:

With sufficient altitude

If the engine failure does not appear to be catastrophic

Engine Failure Checklist

At cruise altitude, it may be pertinent to attempt to “fix” an inoperative engine.

Follow the steps laid out in the POH/AFM for “Engine Failure Checklist”

If the engine does not restart after consulting the “Engine Failure Checklist” then the pilot should take the necessary steps to Feather and Secure the engine.

Follow the “Securing Engine Checklist” found in the POH/AFM for specifics.

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, manufacturer’s memory item procedures and utilize appropriate emergency procedures. 

Set the engine controls, identify and verify the inoperative engine, and feather appropriate propeller. 

Reduce drag by establishing and maintaining a bank toward the operating engine and proper inclinometer ball displacement toward the operating engine as required for best performance in straight-and-level flight. 

Monitor the operating engine and make necessary adjustments. 

Demonstrate coordinated flight with one engine inoperative (propeller feathered). 

Restart the inoperative engine using manufacturer’s restart procedures. 

Maintain altitude ±100 feet or minimum sink as appropriate and heading ±10°. 

Complete the appropriate checklist

FAA Sources Used for This Lesson

Airmen Certification Standards (ACS)

Airplane Flying Handbook (AFH) Chapter 12

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