Commercial Multiengine Gouge

RiddlePilot

New Member
As I mentioned in the general forum, I recently passed my commercial multi ride. I took the oral tuesday, and then passed the flight on wednesday.

The oral was pretty straightforward. I was only given a single day's notice that I was scheduled, so I spent my monday afternoon/night cramming, pacing, getting all worked up about every single detail in the PTS.


I won't go through the oral in-depth. All I have to say is study the PTS. They left nothing out in my oral, which turned out to be a pretty long 1.8.

The flight was interesting, to say the least. It's fairly normal to have to wait for a Seminole for 10-15 minutes at ERAU during midday, so I sat down and waited for one to arrive. I was first in line (checkrides have priority), and the next PA44 was due back at roughly 1pm (our scheduled engine-start time). Right as a plane pulled up and shut down, the examiner walks up and says "Well tell ya what... I dunno if we're going to have time to do this today. We can either get as much as we can get done today and incomplete landings, or just cancel." I was fairly irritated at this point, and told him in nicer words that we were in fact going to do the full checkride that day, and that we would have engine start prior to his pessimistic prediction.

I did the pre-takeoff brief during taxi to save time, and the short trip to Runway 3R got us off the ground within 10-15 minutes after start. We departed direct Drake VOR, then proceeded to fly towards our first checkpoint on the simulated XC. Shortly after sighting the next checkpoint and "proving" that I knew where we were at, he gave me a diversion scenario. I ran the "Ts" and got us headed for Seligman, AZ. He goes silent for a minute or two and then says "hey, do you see that white speck out on that mesa about 30 miles out, dead ahead?" I reply "sure." He goes on to tell me that that was the Seligman radar installation for Albuquerque Center. I start my steep turns with a big dumb grin on my face.

Now, the steep turns made me sweat. I picked a point out in front and bugged my heading, then added about 2" of MP and rolled into 50 degrees of bank to the right. I rolled out dead on my point within 20 feet of my original altitude. Immediately rolling left, however, I happened to notice a sharp drop in airspeed. At full power and 45 degrees of bank (technically the limits of the PTS), I was maintaining 95 KIAS, which was 15 knots shy of our starting airspeed. I was quick to mention to him that the turbulent air was making the maneuver difficult, and that I could do nothing more about the airspeed. I rolled out on my point about 80 feet below my original altitude and expected the worst. Imagine my sigh of relief when he said "Okay, great. Let's see slow flight dirty." Me 1, Turbulence 0.

Slow flight progressed normally, and we transitioned into a couple of stalls and a Vmc demo, which also went off without a hitch. At this point he says "Okay...Hypothetical situation." I'm pretty relaxed about the checkride at this point, so I just say "shoot." He replies "What if...*dramatic pause*...I look out to the right engine and suddenly, *gasp*, I see flames shooting out the back, with chunks of metal flying out too. Oh, and feel free to move the actual controls." I digested this for a moment before starting the "Engine Fire - In Flight" checklist, which I had never done for real outside of the CPT. I shut down the engine and feathered it as normal, then began a 130 KIAS gear-down emergency descent. It's a strange feeling having a feathered prop while doing an actual emergency descent. We broke off the descent still fairly high up, and I cleaned it up and prepared to restart. I ran the engine-restart checklist, and low-and-behold, it didn't start windmilling. I pitched down for 110-120 KIAS to try to get it out of feather, but it wouldn't budge. My last option was to bump the starter, which thankfully worked.

As we began heading for Prescott, I received ATIS and performed the descent checklist. Strangely enough, PRC had only Runway 3L in use. Awesome. I get to do short-field and single-engine landings on a bumpy day on a runway I've landed on all of once before. On final for 3L, the examiner casually asks (you know the tone) "so... are we going to 3L or 3R?" Somewhat freaked out for a moment, I verified our clearance with tower. They responded with "Riddle 70, affirmative. 3R is closed. Cleared to land 3L. Repeat, 3R is closed." On short final, I see why. On the parallel runway I see poor Riddle 75, another ERAU Seminole, with a collapsed nose gear. The pilots were fine, but just a sad sight to see such a great bird (75 was easily my favorite of the fleet) in that condition.

Anyways, we performed a normal landing, followed by a short field. The short field was easy enough, and I landed about 40 feet past my point. Those Seminoles are so easy to stick, unlike a C172.

Right after turning left crosswind again, my right engine "failed," and I brought the aircraft back around and did a full stop to 3L. Anyone that flies a normally-aspirated PA44 knows that these things are flying bricks with an engine-out, and with a 2500 ft. SE service ceiling (PRC density altitude was ~7500 ft.), keeping the airplane in the air was not the easiest of feats.

We taxied off the runway, and I was congratulated on the spot on a new commercial certificate.


Overall, the ride wasn't too difficult. The main thing that he watched for was good ADM, as well as adaptability to new and challenging situations. The maneuvers were almost an afterthought.

Next stop: SE add-on!
 

project7

New Member
How's the single engine performance on the seminole up there at prescott? Can you get them to climb at all?
 

RiddlePilot

New Member
You can fiddle with the airspeed a bit to try to find level, which generally works. I think we were barely holding level at about 83-84 knots, even though blueline is 88. We were getting somewhere along the lines of -100 fpm at blueline. I've never been able to squeak a climb out of it though.
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
Ack! That density altitude makes things interesting for you, hey? Sounds like you handled everything very well. If you're ever in Central CA, let me know. I'd love to jump in a Seminole and compare our methods and techniques.

Again, great job!
 
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