Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 8
I had my first engine out today in a cessna 150.
We were flying strait and level at about 3000 msl. The density altitude was high so we had the mixture leaned. A few minutes before I had noticed the engine sounded rough. Previously we had done a power off stall with flaps and had recovered and were just flying normal cruise while we talked about the next manuever. As I started my first clearing turn, the big fan on front stopped turning. We started to perspire immediatly so the saying is true about the big fans purpose is to cool the pilot.

At first I thought it was just my instructor playing a trick on me, he has been known to do that. But then I saw he was sweating more than me, plus his hands and feet were nowhere near the controls.

(Fortunatly?) or (because of ultralight training?) there was a big flat field within range to set down in if we had to and we headed toward it. We both checked fuel selector valve, full rich, carb heat on, and mags switch.

We had established a stable approach to the pasture and getting ready to put flaps down and had some time left to try a restart, but the thing started up on its own, just from the windmilling prop. It ran a little rough for a few seconds, then smoothed out great.

We climbed to about 4000 feet so we could be sure of making other fields on the way back to the airport. The engine ran fine.

I suspected water in the gas. Carb ice didn't seem likely, but possible maybe.

Anyway, we made a beeline for the airport and landed strait in on a long final, no problems.

After we brought the plane in for inspection, it was discovered that a mud dauber had built a nest in the fuel vent hose. I am not convinced that the wasp nest was the whole cause of the problem though, usually it is not one thing but a series of malfunctions that combine to cause an accident. There are 2 vents, the vent tube and the gas cap. Both would have to be blocked to cause vacuum in the tanks. I believe there was water in the lines that was blocked by the restriction of the mixture control. When mixture was set full rich, the engine restarted after a minute or 2, when gas started flowing again. I donno, the mechanic has it grounded for now, until we find out for sure what caused it.

It's funny, when it happened I wasn't scared at all. I was very calmly doing the things needed to get us down without breaking anything (aluminum or body parts), but after we got out of the plane, my hands started shaking and my heart was beating fast for at least an hour or two.

I only got in half an hour today, and I wanted to finish out my hour in a different plane. After all, the chance of 2 engine outs in a day can't be much, and my grandpaw always told me to get right back on the horse that throws you... but my instructor said he was done for the day.


p.s. I checked the fuel vent pipe on pre-flight, but I didn't see the dirt dauber nest in there. It was way up in there past the curve. From now on, there will be the same kind of wind activated flipper cover on the fuel vent as on the pitot tube, or else a remove before flight flag, not only on that plane but all planes at the airport.

Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.