Question Flying an Apache

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01 Feb 2024 11:44 #4190 by STEVE ELLS
Replied by STEVE ELLS on topic Flying an Apache
I like it.
Good one!
I'll tell Jen and Scott to fit this one into the magazine. It's good information on how to safely do a VYSE demo.

S

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01 Feb 2024 11:41 #4189 by STEVE ELLS
Replied by STEVE ELLS on topic Flying an Apache
Hi Eric,
If I have the "health" magic wand I'd hit you with it. Right after I hit myself--tested positive for Covid this morning. Jumped right on the Paxlovid. 
So far so good.

Best,
Steve

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31 Jan 2024 19:45 - 01 Feb 2024 16:50 #4188 by Eric Parks
Replied by Eric Parks on topic Flying an Apache
Today was a far better day with Annie. Gerry flew and I got to ride "right seat". Nothing fancy but my first time back in Annie since my surgery for my shoulder. Yes, I'm being VERY careful to not mess up the shoulder and set back my healing. So at this point even though I FEEL like I could fly my Apache I am waiting until I can be completely confident that I won't mess something up and set back my time to get back to work. Since we are just flying to get the oil really heated up we don't have any other particular agenda. Of course that just gives us an excuse to find something fun or interesting to do. In this case I hadn't done single engine work in the Apache as we were getting the engines set up properly and I didn't want to create an emergency by practicing an emergency. So the agenda for today was to simulate an engine out condition.

The Apache gets lableled as a twin that will carry you to the scene of the accident when you lose an engine. Of course this is completely true for ANY twin if the pilot does not maintain directional control with an engine out. So it is certainly true of the Apache as well. But it is usually said with the intent being that the Apache can't maintain altitude with one engine shut down and it will just descend. So today we had two Multi Engine pilots and we have both taught as MEI so I wanted to get a little data.

Here's the info:
-Under gross weight with full mains, empty aux's and two grown men on board. Estimate about 350 lbs below gross.
-Cool air, about 50F at surface, we were at 3500' with about 40F. Density altitude was 2870'.
-Right engine was set to 12" MAP to simulate feathered engine.

Once at altitude of about 3500' I pulled back the throttle on the right engine to idle. Gerry simulated going through the engine out drill: Mixture rich, Prop Full rpm. Throttles full forward, Flaps up, Gear Up, Identify dead engine, Verify dead engine and Feather. In this case we used the 12" MAP instead of feathering the engine. Gerry made sure he had 5 degrees bank into the good engine. Once that was done I checked and he was still 10 mph above VYSE of 95. So he pitched up to hold VYSE of 95 and we began to climb. After climbing about 300 ft we decided Annie was serious about it and she had proven that an Apache CAN climb on one engine. Of course it was a very minimal climb at about 100 to 200 fpm but a climb none-the-less. Or we had the option of cruising at 105 mph indicated.

So what did we prove? We certainly had conditions in our favor with being below gross weight, cool air and low altitude. And of course it didn't climb like a sky rocket. But neither would any other light twin with anything close to the horsepower we have. But it did manage a climb that was close to what the book predicted. Not bad for a 69 year old plane! And that has been my thought all along, that once a light twin is above 500' AGL (in normal flat terrain) you have a chance to get the plane around the pattern and land or fly to a diversion airport. Below 500' I would treat an engine out just like a single. Pull the good engine back and look for where to put it down. But above 500' you have way more options to get you back on terra firma safely. At cruise altitude I probably don't need to CLIMB I just need to stay in the air. So even if I am unable to maintain my cruise altitude I can probably descend to a lower altitude and level off as the engine gains more power from the denser air below (remember I am on the East Coast and have lower safe cruise altitudes!). In fact this is exactly what I'm supposed to do in my fancy airliner. If I'm at 35,000' and lose an engine I'm not staying at cruise altitude in my airliner and I'm going to "drift down" to my Single Engine Service Ceiling.

I'm pretty happy if I can maintain altitude or "drift down" to a safe cruise altitude even if I can't climb on one engine. When I was shopping for my family plane I heard about a Bonanza that lost the engine in VFR over one of the Great Lakes and was never found. I think a drift down to 3,000' would have been great for those pilots that day. You can Google N1561Z to read the Kathryn's Report on it. I'm not sure that even a Cirrus with a ballistic parachute would have saved the day in that case. Since I have thoughts of flying to different island destinations this swayed my opinion a bit.

At any rate, that's my case for the "underpowered" Apache that can't climb on one engine.
Last edit: 01 Feb 2024 16:50 by Eric Parks.

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30 Jan 2024 15:19 - 30 Jan 2024 15:23 #4187 by Eric Parks
Replied by Eric Parks on topic Flying an Apache
Steve,

Thanks and yes it was quite a bitter pill to swallow when I realized that my "month off" for virus and pneumonia was going to be months to get my shoulder back in service. It has turned out maybe a little shorter than I initially feared but still WAY more that I like.

The plane seems to be mechanically running great at this time so I am just chasing the last of the avionics glitches. Hopefully we will kill the last of those this Spring. I definitely want to be flying a lot once I retire this June.

Annie has a STEC 50 autopilot and it does have altitude hold but it doesn't have electric trim. My STEC uses lights to tell you if you need up or down trim and you just trim it until the light goes out. Sounds very busy in theory but in reality it works pretty well. The Apache doesn't have much of a pitching moment with that big fat airfoil wing so it really doesn't take much trimming even when going around the pattern. At cruise with the altitude hold on I think I've actually had the light come on twice to trim off pressure. Right now I'm getting to the point that I can reach the overhead trim knob so I'm getting close! Maybe I'll get back to flying Annie in February or March. I'm HOPING to get back to the airline in March.

Apparently my new "favorites things" are insurance / airline paperwork and physical therapy!
Last edit: 30 Jan 2024 15:23 by Eric Parks.

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30 Jan 2024 08:49 #4186 by STEVE ELLS
Replied by STEVE ELLS on topic Flying an Apache
Hi Eric;
Wow! That's quite a load for one pilot to handle--a series of bad ceilings, if you will.

It's good that you thought to take care of your airplane by finding someone to fly it. As you know that's the best thing you can do for that Apache. 

I imagine that your were planning some more flying trips since it seems to me you've crossed off everything on the MX checklist. A let down to be out of the pilot's chair for a while.

I'm getting on the back side of the power curve here healthwise. In my mind I'm still able, but there's a bit of rationalization backing up that conclusion.

I'm grateful there are good Drs that know how to patch me back together. I'm working on taking better care of my nutrition. Which means denying the little kid in me that wants a big gob of jam on my toast. I'll figure it out. 

You will too.

I guess you could put in an autopilot with electric trim, or if you already have an autopilot, see if an electric trim option is available.

Get well, use your "down time" to do something you love to do. You'll be back in saddle before you know it.

Best,
Steve

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29 Jan 2024 16:44 - 30 Jan 2024 15:25 #4185 by Eric Parks
Replied by Eric Parks on topic Flying an Apache
 

Annie during preflight

When I said getting old is tough I didn't know just how tough. I had a lung infection (RSV?) that became pneumonia. As I recovered from the pneumonia I flew the Apache and decided I still needed a couple days to get my strength back. The plan was to fly the Apache down to the radio shop and a friend would fly me back home in his plane. So I went to fly the Apache after the couple days... and tore my rotator cuff on my right shoulder... as I got the Apache out of the hangar. Sigh.

So after being out over a month with lung issues on the day I am ready to put all that behind me I tear up my shoulder and it's pretty bad. Fortunately my wife was there to help me as well as a neighbor hangar buddy. Together we put the plane back in the hangar and I got my shoulder checked. No bones broken but a very bad injury to the right shoulder. 

That happened on OCT 28. I got surgery on DEC 4 and have been recovering since. Since I knew I would be out with extended recovery and physical therapy there was a concern that the Apache would sit for an extended time and I wanted to avoid that. I knew a local CFI that was a retired airline pilot that also had his MEI. We got him approved on my insurance and checked out in Annie and he has flown her about every two weeks since then. Actually it was a lot of fun to get him checked out (not that it was hard!) and he was very happy as he had wanted to get back into multi engine flying again. I have to say it is a little different to see your pet project plane being flown by someone else but at the same time it's been a lot of fun. 

At this point I'm pretty happy to have Gerry flying my Apache and getting familiar with it. There wasn't anyone else able to fly my plane and now I have someone that can fly it and give me instruction when the time comes. I'm hoping to get back to flying in a couple of months. Gerry and I will go out a few times with him as PIC and when I'm comfortable enough we will reverse roles and he will go out with me as PIC. The hard part will be turning the trim crank in the overhead panel!
 
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Last edit: 30 Jan 2024 15:25 by Eric Parks.

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