Embarking on Multi-Engine Adventures

I’m embarking on my multi-engine flights. The FAA CPL mandates 10 hours in a “complex airplane”. It means retractable gear, constant speed prop and flaps. Now it changed, but in 2018 this requirement was still in effect. I was set on obtaining the Multi-Engine (ME) rating anyway, and decided to accrue my complex hours in a multi-engine aircraft.

It seemed to be a smart move: our school typically used the Beechcraft Bonanza (BE-36 v-tail) as a complex airplane and the Beechcraft Duchess (BE-76, T-tail) as a multi-engine one. The price difference per flight hour is insignificant, and the FAA canceled the complex airplane requirement for a checkride (now it’s possible to use a simple 172 for a checkride), so I don’t really need to get comfortable in Bonanza for all the maneuvers.

The BE-76, with its 180hp engines, isn’t a high-performance airplane by the current regulations, preventing me from gaining that endorsement in it. But multi-engine time is still more valuable than single-engine high-performance, and, as I said, the price is almost the same. So, Duchess it is.

The airplane compared to cessna 172 is heavier, faster, with longer checklists, and requires quicker decision-making. However, with two operational engines, its behavior closely resembles a single-engine craft since we just move two levers at a time: both throttles, both props, both mixtures.

There is not so many additional things – just a couple of new levers and instruments, but on practice it increases workload, especially taking into consideration that everything goes faster.

The takeoff is notably brisk, and the plane accelerates rapidly. Takeoff speed is slightly higher, resulting in a longer takeoff distance.

Parking poses some complexity due to narrow spacing between metal pillars, adding a touch of trepidation. Mirrors on the engines assist, allowing to see the nosewheel, and precision is key while following the yellow taxi line.

Taxiing involves turns using differential thrust. The retractable gear adds a Boeing-like feel on takeoff, and the unforgettable sound during retraction/extension enhances the experience even more.

While the flight itself is akin to a standard single-engine flight, the additional checklist items and instruments demand heightened attention. During maneuvers, my inclination is to focus more on instruments than outside views.

The landing is nearly the same, but being a low-wing airplane and heavier brings some differences. Notably, we execute power-on landings: cutting the engines during flare can result in a hard landing.

Once more I feel that something new and interesting is just about to begin, and it’s a continuous learning!






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04/09/2017: My First Flight
04/25/2017: EASA PPL written exam (6 exams passed)
05/21/2017: Radio Operator Certificate (Europe VFR)
05/22/2017: EASA PPL written exam (all passed)
05/26/2017: The First Solo!
05/28/2017: Solo cross-country >270 km
05/31/2017: EASA PPL check-ride
07/22/2017: EASA IFR English
08/03/2017: 100 hours TT
12/04/2017: The first IFR flight
12/28/2017: FAA IR written
02/16/2018: FAA IR check-ride
05/28/2018: FAA Tailwheel endorsement
06/04/2018: FAA CPL long cross-country
06/07/2018: FAA CPL written
07/16/2018: FAA CPL check-ride
07/28/2018: FAA CPL ME rating
08/03/2018: FAA HP endorsement
06/03/2019: EASA ATPL theory (6/14)
07/03/2019: EASA ATPL theory (11/14)
07/15/2019: FAA IR IPC
07/18/2019: FAA CPL SES rating
08/07/2019: EASA ATPL theory (done)
10/10/2019: EASA NVFR
10/13/2019: EASA IR/PBN SE
11/19/2019: Solo XC > 540 km
12/06/2019: EASA CPL
12/10/2019: EASA AMEL
02/20/2020: Cessna 210 endorsement
08/30/2021: FAVT validation
05/27/2022: TCCA CPL/IR written
05/31/2022: Radio Operator Certificate Canada