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Home » Paul Hesse

Safety: Fall 2006

By Paul Hesse (September 2006)
It was just a few weeks ago now that I had a total engine failure and landed on an interstate. I have been approached by a number of people and was asked primarily this question. How did I DETECT initially the problem? Fortunately my initial instructor was a crop duster. Gene always said to me from my 1st lesson. Do not rely on the instruments, but LISTEN to your engine and FEEL the airplane in your seat. If I remember correctly, not many of his instruments worked in his Piper Pawnee. I watched him numerous time dance with trees, power lines, hedgerows, cars, ditches, bugs, a dirty windshield and the terrible smell of pesticides. Never crashed in the 25 years he earned his living teaching and being the "exterminator" for farmers. Guess he "talked the talk and walked the walk"? My recent incident started the same way. Harmonics from the sound of the engine gave me some indication that something upfront was amiss? At no time did oil pressure/temp tell me anything was wrong. It was loss of power and THEN indications that oil pressure was going in the wrong direction.