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ALC-30: Multi-Engine Safety Review
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Cruise Performance Considerations

Losing an engine in cruise may allow time to establish control and  troubleshoot, but one  critical cruise consideration is service ceiling. 

  • The single engine absolute ceiling is where the rate of climb is zero. 
  • The single engine service ceiling is the altitude at which a twin-engine aircraft with one engine feathered can no longer climb at 50 feet per minute in smooth air. 

SLC-vista4-mar06.jpgService ceiling is important for terrain and obstacle avoidance.  If you lose an engine at an altitude above the single engine service ceiling, you can expect to drift down to that altitude.   Plan the flight so that you will still be able to maintain minimum IFR or VFR altitudes and remain clear of terrain/obstacles if you lose an engine.  Bear in mind that a 50 fpm climb rate is very small.  In some conditions (e.g., turbulence), it may only be enough to maintain level flight.