Author

Andrey Babin

Date of Award

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Andrew R. Dattel, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Margaret F. Klemm, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Cass D. Howell, Ed.D.

Abstract

Previous research has revealed that wrong identification of a failed engine during flight is not an uncommon event in an aircraft cockpit. A number of fatal accidents in the past, including the recent TransAsia Flight 235 accident, resulted from engine misidentification. Most accidents of this type happened on takeoff when pilot workload was at its highest level. This thesis consists of two research studies. For Research Study 1, a survey was created to gather opinions of airline pilots who operate twin-engine turboprop aircraft. Twenty-nine percent of respondents to the survey agreed with the statement that there could be a better method of identification of a failed engine. Thirty-four percent of respondents who provided suggestions for improvement of a current method recommended adding a visual indicator of some kind.

Research Study 2 was designed on the assumption that the current method of identification of a failed engine, called “dead leg – dead engine,” was not efficient enough, and an alternative method was introduced and tested. The alternative method was based on a visual sensory channel and it involved the use of a failed engine indicator called Engine Status Panel.

Method: To test the proposed training method, 50 student pilots from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University who had not obtained multi-engine rating (MEL) were sampled and assigned to two groups – either the Traditional or the Alternative method. Participants performed three takeoffs in a flight training device, and an engine failure was simulated during each takeoff. Participant accuracy of identification and response time to an engine failure were measured and compared across takeoffs and between groups. Results: Participants in the Alternative Group were able to identify a failed engine significantly faster than the participants in the Traditional Group. Additionally, Participants in the Alternative Group reported being generally less confused in regard to which engine was failing and more confident that their identification was correct. For further development of the matter, it is recommended to measure the effectiveness of the alternative method among pilots who are rated for multi-engine aircraft operations. Implementation of a visual indicator similar or identical to the Engine Status Panel in twin-engine general aviation aircraft may improve pilot response to identification of a failed engine.

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