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Total Electrical Failure... Using Your Resources

The ferry pilot was making a night transit from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Florida via St. John's, Newfoundland, in a Britten-Norman Islander.

Sometime after departing Iceland, she noticed that the right alternator had failed, but she elected to continue to St. John's.

About 160 mi. from destination, still over the cold grey North Atlantic, she had a complete electrical failure, leaving her without light, radios or navigation aids. However, she was not without resources: using a portable global positioning system and a flashlight, she was able to continue to St. John's, where, with the aid of a portable radio, she re-established communications.

The weather was 300 ft. overcast with 2 mi. visibility and, without electrical power, she was unable to fly an instrument approach. Undaunted, air traffic control provided the pilot with vectors for a successful emergency surveillance approach.

As the aircraft touched down, one engine quit. The pilot shut down the other engine after the landing roll.

After the aircraft was towed to the ramp, she called the tower controller to thank her for her assistance during the approach.

That's keeping cool and using all of your resources.

Maintenance found that the right generator had failed owing to an electrical fault, the left generator was hanging by one bolt, and the battery was completely drained.

Originally Published: ASL 4/1997
Original Article: Total Electrical Failure...Using Your Resources

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We would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada for this initiative through the Search and Rescue New Initiative Fund (SAR NIF).