A Tale of Two Engine Failures | Aviation

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Last March, a Beechcraft Bonanza A36TC was in cruise flight at 15,000 feet on the way to the annual aviation celebration known as Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, when the pilot noticed the engine power had dropped and the airplane began to slow.

A check of the manifold pressure confirmed the turbocharger was no longer providing the usual 30 inches of power. Instead, the gauge showed around 19 inches, which was what a normally aspirated engine should produce at that altitude. Suspecting a problem with the turbo system, pilot Josh Harnagel theorized an intake hose had come loose and feared an unplanned maintenance stop would interrupt the trip.

“I was somewhat frustrated and annoyed by the situation, but not overly concerned,” Harnagel said in a July interview.

Harnagel decided to head for Meridian, Mississippi (KMEI), anticipating a quick repair and a short delay in the business trip. At the time, he had just more than 2,500 hours of flight experience. He is a commercial pilot and a CFI. He learned to fly from his father, who owned a World War II trainer and taught him aerobatics, tailwheel, and lots of basic “stick-and-rudder” skills. Harnagel also knew the airplane well, having completed Bonanza type-specific training, including engine failure simulations. He also knew the maintenance history and was sure the airplane was well maintained.

“Although I knew there was a possibility that the problem could be serious, I was confident this was probably a minor issue because there were no indications otherwise,” Harnagel said.

He began descending so the engine would (in theory) produce more power, when a routine scan of the engine gauges revealed zero oil pressure. “There was an immediate spike in my stress level as I realized the engine was likely to quit very soon,” he said.

Harnagel checked for nearby airports and changed the intended destination to Newton, Mississippi (M23). Suddenly, the engine began to shake violently as it entered…

 read more www.planeandpilotmag.com

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