Single-Engine Service Ceiling
The single-engine service ceiling is the maximum altitude at which an airplane will climb, at a rate of at
least 50 FPM in smooth air, with one engine feathered. New Handbooks show service ceiling as a function
of weight, pressure altitude and temperature while the old Flight Manuals frequently use density altitude.
Use the single-engine service ceiling chart during flight planning to determine whether the airplane, as
loaded, can maintain the Minimum Enroute Altitude (MEA) if IFR, or terrain clearance if VFR, following
an engine failure.
BASIC SINGLE-ENGINE PROCEDURES
Know and follow, to the letter, the single-engine emergency procedures specified in your Pilot's Operating
Handbook for your specific make and model airplane. However, the basic fundamentals of all the
procedures are as follows:
Maintain aircraft control and airspeed at all times. This is cardinal rule number one.
Usually, apply maximum power to the operating engine. However, if the engine failure occurs during
cruise or in a steep turn, you may elect to use only enough power to maintain a safe speed and altitude.
If the failure occurs on final approach, use power only as necessary to complete the landing.
Reduce drag to an absolute minimum.
Secure the failed engine and related sub-systems.
The first three steps should be done promptly and from memory. The checklist should then be consulted to
ensure the inoperative engine is secured properly and appropriate switches are placed in the correct
position. The airplane must be banked into the live engine with the "slip/skid" ball out of center toward the
live engine to achieve Handbook performance.
Another note of caution: Be sure to identify the dead engine, positively, before feathering it. Many red-
faced pilots, both students and veterans alike, have feathered the wrong engine. Don't let it happen to you.
Remember: First, identify the suspected engine (i.e., "dead foot means dead engine"); second, verify with
cautious throttle movement; then feather. Be sure it is dead and not just sick.
Engine Failure on Takeoff
If an engine fails before attaining lift-off speed, the only proper action is to discontinue the takeoff. If the
engine fails after lift-off with the landing gear still down, the takeoff should still be discontinued if
touchdown and rollout on the remaining runway is still possible.
If you do find yourself in a position of not being able to climb, it is much better to pull the power on the
good engine and land straight ahead than try to force a climb and lose control.
Pilot's Operating Handbooks have charts used in calculating the runway length required if the engine fails
before reaching lift-off speed and may have charts showing performance after lift-off such as:
Accelerate-Stop Distance. The distance required to accelerate to lift-off speed and, assuming failure of
an engine at the instant lift-off speed is attained, to bring the airplane to a full stop.
Accelerate-Go Distance. The distance required to accelerate to lift-off speed and, assuming failure of
an engine at the instant lift-off speed is attained, to continue the takeoff on the remaining engine to a
height of 50 feet.
Study your accelerate-go charts carefully. No airplane is capable of climbing out on one engine under all
weight, pressure altitude and temperature conditions. Know, before you take the actual runway, whether
you can maintain control and climb-out if you lose an engine while the gear is still down. It may be
necessary to off-load some weight, or wait for more favorable temperature or wind conditions.