Standby Electric Attitude Indicator…

Of all the safety devices that can be added to the PA-46, I think one of the more essential options is an electric standby attitude indicator.  Although the Malibu has dual vacuum pumps and dual indicators (pilots and copilots side), there is still only one engine.  If you were to lose your engine in IMC, you will be completely without an attitude indicator.  Unquestionably this will compound your troubles during an emergency and turn a negative situation into a really, really dangerous situation. Plus, with no attitude indicator, you will have no autopilot…so plan do some hand-flying if this happens.

Years ago I had heard many of the Malibu pilots talk about their electric standby attitude indicator, but gave it little extra thinking “it won’t happen to me”.  Then “that day” came.  I had a complete engine failure in IMC and had no standby electric attitude indicator.  I had to descend through about 8,000ft of IMC and rely on the turn coordinator for bank control and use speed for airspeed control.  I was one of the blessed ones who lived through the event, but it absolutely made the emergency exponentially more difficult to manage.  Click here to read my engine failure story in its entirety.

You know the old adage…” a wise pilot demonstrates his exceptional decision making skills so he doesn’t ever have to demonstrate his exceptional piloting skills.”  If you don’t have a standby AI, bite the bullet and make it happen.  It will be one of the better safety decisions you could make.

About Joe Casey

ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, CFI-G Commercial Pilot - SE, ME, Rotorcraft, Glider US Army AH-64 Pilot and UH-60 Instructor Pilot and Instrument Flight Examiner
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