Sometimes pilots don’t seem to know what to look at when something is amiss. When an (the) engine begins to vibrate we should quickly determine if it is a major vibration and, if so, shut that engine down quickly. You sure don’t want it shaking itself off the engine mounts and who knows what disaster comes from that. If it’s not that bad may we should look at the Engine’s power indicators i.e. Manifold Pressure, RPM and Fuel Flow for a piston powered engine. the we can look at the condition indicators – EGTs and/or TITs, CHTs, Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature. Look at the cowling for oil streaming back. It doesn’t take a large oil loss to make a big mess. If the oil pressure hasn’t started to drop you may be able to reduce power and continue flying to a good landing at an acceptable sight – preferably an airport.

But what about the flight instruments? What to look at first? In  almost all cases the airspeed is the first indicator to look at.  If you haven’t changed power settings and the airspeed is less than before, possibly the Pitot tube is icing over or there is induction icing or the airplane has begun a climb, or you’re in a downdraft and the autopilot, to maintain altitude, is pitching the nose of the aircraft up. Possibly you bumped the power lever aft unintentionally. 

If the aircraft’s heading is not what you’ve selected, or the aircraft is climb/descending when it shouldn’t be, possibly the autopilot has failed or you’ve accidentally disengaged it.

So,what am I saying? I see pilot’s not looking at the right thing when things are going the wrong way. They’re asking the wrong questions and looking at the wrong things for answers so they aren’t getting the answers they need and are making the wrong decisions. 

BTW – how should a pilot climb/descend at a specific airspeed and specific rate? Should he use power for airspeed and pitch for rate? Sure – that’s fine. Can he use power for rate and pitch for airspeed? Sure, that’s also fine. I’d use pitch for whatever is more critical or whichever you’re already closest to. The airplane responds quicker to pitch inputs than power inputs. 

Please let me know your thoughts on these subjects.





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