Failure is fantastic

Most of us simmers get a fresh new aircraft that has all bits and bobs work right off the bat, which ironically is highly unrealistic. Keeping a aircraft in flying condition, even new from the factory is a whole series of choices and compromises.

A brand new Boeing might carry a few errors made on the production line(documented, obviously), and thus will have it’s own character. Some electrical system might never function optimally or the hydraulic pump might give slightly less pressure then what you’d be used to. Not big problems, everything within tolerances, but it’s not a perfect world out there!

Fortunately, developers have taken it upon themselves to simulate this. Until today I had no real experience with these addons. But, I’ve the the FJS 727 working, despite the lack of a properly simulated fuel system(TL:DR, fuel imbalance due to badly modelled fuel tanks, causes lateral CG change), and this wonderful aircraft simulates damage, wear and tear and a little bit of maintenance on the side.

Today I wanted to fly from SPSO(Pisco) to SLLP(La Paz). A few days ago I made the same flight but got into a unrecoverable stall because the autopilot required all my attention, given the weird mix of switches and rotaries all over the panels.

So I hopped into the cockpit of the 727 again, with a fresh spirit and a vivid idea of how I should coerce this mechanical companion into following my plans!

A nice sunset when starting up!

A alarming sound started ringing. A bell and a vague red light did the work on the main panel. As it turned out, engine 1 had decided to excite the firedectector loops, to my great frustration. These loops should only be modified by authorized staff, and this engine most certainly was not on the staff list, nor authorized for that matter.

At this point I had levelled off and dialed in the VOR back home. As it turns out he AP disengaged without a clear visible warning, thus causing this disturbing bank angle for anyone in the back.

I obviously had tried to get the engine to accept controlled fire again, but alas it was too late and any form of cooperation had evaporated with the damaged fire sensing loop(May the great Airworthiness Directive in the sky above us have it’s soul).

Surprisingly enough windmilling gave me enough RPM to get a combustion going, but it never happened. The combustion chamber was properly damaged when the fire did the fire thing outside of the regulated and designated area’s(highly unusual).

A firm approach and a little rudder gave me a speedy touchdown that got anchored with a liberal application of thrust reverse on the grieving engines.

(image of me trying to start the engine, upload buggered for now)

I bravely attempted to resuscitate the engine on the ground once more, perhaps the massive fuel supply would breath some life into it! But alas, it had no use!

So, go out there, screw up. And improvise, who knows, you might learn a thing or two along the way!

Some of my realizations during the process:

-What’s that sound?
-Oh wait, not a stall, it’s fire!
-Where’s the bottle discharge?
-There it is! Okay engine is shutting down
-Oooh, I’ve got a second squib!
-Okay let’s try and windmill restart after levelling off, I’ve got a few minutes before i get to the next waypoint
-Hmm, no fuel? Oh wait, the discharge button keeps the fuel shut-off valve closed…
-Okay, no more then 35% engine 1… bugger
-So can I make this trip with a engine down?
-well the airport is a bit high, better not
-let’s VOR back home!
-Dammit, AP disconnected…

Trust me, failing is fun! More so in a simulator :wink: One thing you should try besides the wonderful state of a Cold and Dark cockpit!


I sooo agree! I wish I could “Like” your post twice!
Failure (in gaming) is the most unexpected form of fun!


I’m not so sure that trying to relight an engine after an engine fire is such a great idea even if you have another bottle to fight the new fire with :wink: .

So, the thought process of this pilot would be something like:

1… cruising along fat dumb and happy. Especially happy because the FA just brought me a fresh cup of coffee…
2. Engine Fire! Almost spilled my coffee… immediate actions - Indentify correct engine, retard the correct power lever, pull the correct fire handle, 10 seconds, fire the first bottle… oh! It’s out - good show!
3. Have the co-pilot secure the engine using the checklist while I decide if it is a good idea to continue the flight (we do have two more engines right?)…
4. Although I’m happy to fly with two engines, I decide that management would be upset at the inevitable FAKE NEWS that it would generate… so I guess we had better land.
5. Land, just like any other landing, but with fire trucks and flashing lights!
6. Hand the airplane to a mechanic and then head off to the hotel bar for beer and talk of medals.



Depends on what caused it, most engines can handle a serious pounding. In this case I flew too long at full power, so I had a good chance of starting it again as long as the nozzles were okay. N1 and N2 axles were okay, since they wind milled free!

Trust me, I fix these problems for a living :wink:

Oh, I trust you, but in the heat of battle, if I shut down an engine and use a fire bottle, then it is going to stay shut down until it has been thoroughly checked out by you or one of your brethren. I have the utmost respect for you guys…


Yeah, I agree. A fire or fire indicator is nothing to guess about. Nothing worse in the world than being on fire in an airplane. Been there, never want to go through that again. Longest 30 seconds of my life. :fire: :fire_engine:


“The only time an aircraft has too much fuel, is when you’re on fire”


You guys talk about it like its nothing. Its amazing how far 20k feet look in an emergency… I cant even imagine when other peoples lives depend on my judgment. Thus, I don’t want to pilot nobody but myself.
I took the rear foot pegs off my GSXR when my ex nearly fell off. I am a bit relaxed now but I only give a girl a “once around the corner” ride. In an airplane, I would never be able to relax if I had to fly with other people. You guys are heroes of good judgment.

I fully agree, why taunt faith with structural damage if you would experience a containment case failure because of the engine having been on fire! But… This is the joy of a simulator! Mess about and flip it around and see what it does! I was quite curious how accurately the engines were modelled by FJS.

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In the time I have been in this industry I have come to the conclusion that, with a few exceptions, pilots and mechanics are very different animals deep down inside. That’s a good thing though. I know I would be a lousy mechanic. :scream:

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Perhaps we are, perhaps we aren’t. I think the biggest difference is how we approach problems and solutions, and that really is about training and education, and obviously because of the different demands put on them. Technicians and mechanics are constantly pushed to keep costs down and inspect with the narrowest margin possible. Pilots encounter this push in fuel useage, turn around time, flight time, etc. I think that anyone can become a good mechanic given sufficient training. It’s not some magical profession!

I don’t know. I think you have to have a passion for it, at least in the early to mid stages of your career. The same goes for pilots too.

I was never that kid who liked to take things apart to see how they work. I’m much more of an operator than a fixer.

We have one pilot that is also an A&P. As a matter of fact, he does the annual on one of our other pilot’s personal airplanes (a Piper Warrior) and even carted an engine all the way to Tennessee once to make an engine switch on it when the previous engine crapped itself near Knoxville.

You can definitely see the crossover in pilot/mechanic thinking in some of his thought process though. He will often fiddle with something that isn’t just right - whereas I want to just leave it alone until I get finished with the leg or trip (or MEL it if necessary). It is in his “fix it” DNA whereas mine is “don’t touch anything” until I’m in a place where I want to have it touched. LOL.

I wish I were an A&P - I think it is a really nice thing to have on a resume as a pilot, and I’d like to own a small aircraft someday, so from that standpoint it would be very valuable. Unfortunately, as a child, I was the one that would disassemble everything, and never know how to put it back together again. So maybe I should just be one of those airplane graveyard chop shop guys…

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And that’s why we have manuals with pictures that LITRALLY tell you to put bolt 05-120 with grease 2101 and washer bla bla in spot 130 on figurer 9. It’s no harder then reading navigation charts! Especially with computers these days you can just control-F through the manuals!

There’s some experience that comes in when you have to work in tight or annoying locations and the correct set of adapters that you need to use, but that’s just a time investment and some insight. Really, it’s not some magical thing! I’d be happy to have you guys tag along for day but unfortunately I doubt many of you will find yourself over here anytime soon :wink:

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