“I almost lost all radio contact”
I was flying around in a small four-seat Cessna with some friends at sunset. Daylight was running out, and as we were headed somewhere, I noticed a major decline in battery power. The alternator had died and we had maybe 20 minutes of battery left before all the lights would go out and we’d lose all radio contact with air traffic control. We were in a congested airspace and losing radio contact would be very dangerous. I turned the plane around and headed to my home airport at full power. I told my passengers that we just needed to return because of a simple warning annunciator. We landed without issue and for anyone concerned, the engine would have never failed because of the alternator but not having lights and radios would have been dangerous enough. My passengers thanked me for not freaking them out by sharing this information with them.—Reddit user ceplano
“My engine suddenly stopped working”
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Piloting a small aircraft for a sightseeing flight with three passengers, I once experienced an engine failure. This was partly self-inflicted and a valuable learning experience. Five minutes into the flight, I saw the right fuel tank was empty. Because I’d looked in the tanks before departure and as the indicators are far from reliable, I suspected instrument failure over a fuel leak. Still, I’d rather be safe than sorry so I decided to lean the fuel/air mixture a bit to optimize fuel economy. (Generally, the fuel mixture in an aircraft’s piston engine has a bit more fuel than required for combustion. The evaporated non-combusted fuel cools the engine from the inside). Keeping an eye on the engine temperature, I started reducing the mixture when suddenly the engine stopped. The aircraft went completely silent and started to glide. Pushing the nose a bit to keep the propeller windmilling, I applied the emergency checklist from memory and the engine roared back to life at full mixture. I told my passengers I had to shift gear, while they remained completely oblivious about what just happened. Back on the ground, we found that one of the two magneto’s providing electricity to the spark plugs had failed.—Reddit user Virgadays. If you find yourself in an emergency never do these 5 things.