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Engine Failure Accidents

  • 22% of all accidents
  • 4% only partial failure
  • 30% undetermined reasons

Probable causes
  • Carburetor icing
  • 30% of which occurred during T/O or cruise
  • Pilot corrected cause after crash
  • Mysterious event

Engine Failure Statistics

  • 28 percent of engine failures are for unknown reasons where fuel, air or spark are responsible.
  • 2 percent are internal failures sometimes detectable by oil analysis
  • 2 percent are oil problems related to pumps, filters or lines.
  • 3 percent are induction problems related to hoses, clogging or alternate air doors
  • 5 percent are spark problems related to spark plugs, magnetos, wiring harness, or switches.
  • 6 percent are related to poor maintenance
  • 7 percent are due to cylinder/valve problems due to improper leaning
  • 8 percent are fuel related problems of selectors, carburetors, primers, or pumps.
  • 8 percent are carburetor ice related where application of heat occurs too late to be effective.
  • 11 percent are from contaminated fuel
  • 20 percent are from starvation, exhaustion or other failure to deliver problems.
  • Pilots are in the main most likely to be responsible for an engine failure.

Engine component failure accidents:
    1.Lycoming engines fail twice as often as Continental
    2. Engine size has no effect of frequency of failure
    3. 43% mechanical
    4. 1 in 5 accidents during cruise. Cruise flight accidents due to weather and fuel.
    5. 1 in 3 engine/prop
    6. 1 in 4 due to gear or brakes
    7. 1 in 6 due to fuel
  • Fuel exhaustion is most common factor.
    8. 18% of engine type accidents caused by engine failure unrelated to pilot induced failure.
    9. 1.296 per 100,000 flight hours
    10. Pneumatic system is 1:40,000 IFR flight plans filed.
    11. 25% of all accident occur after partial or total loss of engine power.
    12. When planes switched from piston-powered engines to jet engines in the 1960s, they immediately became more reliable by a factor of 10.

Written by Gene Whitt

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