Lessons Learned

At first glance, it might appear that the lesson from this scenario is that it is best to ignore irregularities with engine instrumentation. This is the lesson many pilots have incorrectly learned from many such situations. But this is most definitely not the lesson that should be learned.

It is very true that problems such as this one will crop up from time to time in your flying. They result from your lack of experience and uncertainty about how different situations might impact the operation of the aircraft. These situations often turn out to be of little or no importance. All too frequently, a pilot will walk away believing that they made the right choice by ignoring the problem, because there were no bad consequences. But in reality, any number of things could have been wrong with the engine, and the indication of rising oil temperature might have been followed by sudden loss of oil pressure, and an engine failure. Anytime that you are assessing your decision making after a flight, donít simply consider what did happen, but consider what could have happened. What risks did you expose yourself and your passenger to? Why didnít you check to ensure that there was nothing wrong? If we are honest, we will admit that sometimes we take risks because we donít want to be embarrassed by our lack of knowledge in a certain area.

Herein lies the real lesson of this scenario. When you get checked out at a company, remember that the check pilot may not have an instructor rating and may not have any formal education on how to teach. It is in your best interest to receive good training. Therefore, you must know what you need to know, and ask questions to ensure that all the gaps are filled in. Ask about seasonal variations in temperature, and how they might impact operation. Make sure you know how the ventilation system and the heating system of the aircraft operate. What kinds of indications are normal in the aircraft? What indications are causes for concern? What kinds of indications would be grounds for an immediate turn back? As the weather changes, ask questions about how this change might affect the operation of the aircraft.

If you find yourself in charge of a flight and unsure about what you should do in a situation, look for all relevant information, confess, and ask for help.

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