Take the 2-minute tour ×
Aviation Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for aircraft pilots, mechanics, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In two-engine aircraft with wing-mounted engines when one engine quits the aircraft will have a natural tendency to turn to the dead engine. So if you need to turn, it seems logical it should be easier to turn that way.

However in the discussion here is a comment:

By dinger on Monday, Aug 11th 2014 13:42Z:
SOP in a twin is NOT to turn in the direction of the failed engine. Right engine failed and they turned Right.

Is it really standard procedure, and if it is, what is the reason behind it?

share|improve this question
Example of an accident where the turn to the dead engine side was determined as one of the fatal factors en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%8CSA_Flight_001 –  Vladimir F Aug 13 '14 at 13:13
@VladimirF: I don't see that say they tried to turn anywhere, only that the aircraft banked because of the asymmetric thrust. –  Jan Hudec Aug 13 '14 at 13:48
The investigators published the causes as follows: Failure to bank the plane towards the working engines side "Příčina nehody:... nenaklonění letadla na stranu pracujících motorů... " –  Vladimir F Aug 13 '14 at 13:54
@VladimirF: Yes. But that means they failed to properly counter the torque, not that they tried to execute turn and did it wrongly. –  Jan Hudec Aug 13 '14 at 14:03
No place to discuss it here, but they actually tried to circle to land and that lead to the fall. It is necessary to look into the full report or the book databazeknih.cz/knihy/… –  Vladimir F Aug 13 '14 at 14:10

1 Answer 1

up vote 22 down vote accepted

The AvHerald comment is correct, you generally do not want to turn towards the dead engine. The aircraft will tend to turn (both yaw and bank) towards the dead engine due to asymmetric thrust, allowing it to do so at low speed will make it difficult to end the turn, possibly to the point where you lose control. If you turn away from the dead engine, you'll have a tougher time getting into the turn, but the live engine will help you get out of it. That said, attempting low altitude turns with an engine out seems like a bad idea, you should concentrate on going straight and maintaining optimum airspeed to make sure you get some altitude

There are a couple of mnemonics when dealing with engine failures, like "dead foot, dead engine" (determining which engine failed) and "raise the dead" (keep bank towards the live engine)

I can only speculate as to why they chose to go right, either they wanted to avoid the populated area, or they were already unable to control the turn. The high density altitude would certainly affect the OEI performance as well, perhaps luring them into losing airspeed below Vmc.

Disclaimer: I'm not multi engine rated, and have no first hand experience. This is just what I've read.

share|improve this answer
This looks about right! –  Joe Harper Aug 13 '14 at 8:21
FWIW, when I went through multi-engine training in the early 1970s, the common wisdom was to avoid turning into the dead engine, and that is what I taught as a multi-engine instructor. –  Terry Aug 13 '14 at 18:37
flying 4 engined turboprops we were trained to prefer turning away from the dead engine. The aerodynamic issues are the same. I've shut down lots of engines and 1-engine out was not a significant control issue. I would not go to extremes to avoid turning into the dead engine, but I certainly made a conscious effort of smooth, shallow turns and perfect rudder control. An outboard dead engine got more attention. Gross Ham-fisted control input has caused completely avoidable crashes. –  radarbob Aug 14 '14 at 23:49
I recall that the Senica, 2 engines, was a dog on one engine and turning into the dead engine was truly dangerous. It was on the knife edge where the good engine at full power might not keep above stall speed given a turn into the dead with the bit more lift loss, bit more drag from rudder cross control, etc. compared to "raising the dead." –  radarbob Aug 15 '14 at 0:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.