Max talks with Seth Lake about Vmc (Minimum Control Speed with the Critical Engine Inoperative) maneuvers, particularly focusing on their importance in multi-engine training. Seth also talks about the challenges and risks associated with VMC demonstrations and offers constructive suggestions for improving training practices in multi-engine aircraft.
Seth explains that Vmc is the minimum controllable airspeed of a multi-engine aircraft when the critical engine is inoperative, and the operative engine is at full power. The FAA mandates specific criteria for this maneuver, emphasizing the need for multi-engine pilots to understand how to control an aircraft during asymmetrical power events. VMC demonstrations are a crucial aspect of multi-engine training, requiring pilots to recover from a VMC condition during their practical tests.
The critical engine, which has the most adverse effect on the aircraft when inoperative, is typically determined by factors like P-factor, accelerated slipstream, spiraling slipstream, and torque. The interview delves into the intricacies of Vmc, including how manufacturers are allowed up to 150 pounds of rudder force for certification purposes, and highlights the challenges pilots face in maintaining control during a Vmc scenario.
Seth Lake describes an unscientific test he conducted using a force measurement tool in one of his aircraft, revealing the significant rudder forces required to hold coordinated flight in Vmc conditions. He also talks about altitude considerations during Vmc demonstrations.
The discussion then turns to the FAA’s guidelines for the Vmc demonstration during commercial check rides, examining the specific setup and recovery procedures outlined in the ACS. He also mentions a potential contradiction in other FAA publications, such as the Practical Test Standards for multi-engine instructors, and the importance of understanding these nuances.
Seth also raises concerns about the inherent risks associated with Vmc demonstrations and suggests potential improvements to the current practices. He proposes an alternative method that involves holding the ailerons neutral, using full rudder deflection, and avoiding the five degrees of bank specified in the certification criteria. This alternative method aims to increase safety by reducing the likelihood of spins and providing a more realistic experience of loss of directional control.
The interview concludes with a discussion on the impact of passenger weight on the aircraft’s center of gravity during Vmc demonstrations and highlights the need for careful considerations to enhance safety in these maneuvers.
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