How about an electrical failure?


Well-Known Member
Alchemy's post was such a good one, I couldn't help but spin off from it. Anyone ever have a total electrical failure?
I had one in a '76 Skyhawk- VFR and a local flight in the practice area. I did finally see that the alternator circuit breaker was blown, and it stayed pushed in long enough to get a clearance to land.
The only bad thing was, it was my first flight after my PPL checkride!
I had the audio panel go kaput (and take the radios with it) in a rented Arrow a few months ago. Coming back from Key West enroute to Daytona Beach, IFR in the middle of the night. Luckily, we were almost over Ft. Pierce at the time (where the plane was based), so I squawked 7600 while I dug out the trusty handheld to advise ATC and canceled IFR. Non-event really.
Yup. I was doing an angel flight (with the same guy who later ran out of gas) from Winston-Salem NC to PDK one night. Over GVL, we noticed that the ammeter in his 172 was discharging so we started switching off nonessential stuff and trouble shooting. We were IFR in VMC at night, and it wasn't long before we couldn't transmit (transmitting takes a lot of power).

We used the ident button to acknowledge ATC and eventually got close to PDK. If any of you are familiar with PDK, it is located in downtown Atlanta and is very hard to spot, especially at night, if you are unfamiliar with it. By this time, we were down to his handheld.

While talking to ATC, we flew over the airport about 2-3 times without seeing it. I was just about to suggest that we fly to another, easier to spot, airport, about 30 miles away, when I saw the airport. We landed uneventfully, and I remember that the tower closed immediately after we touched down.

I bought a handheld shortly after that.
I was on a flight in a 172 with my mom once when we lost the alternator and then the battery died soon after. We were on an IFR flight plan due to marginal conditions.

All of the sudden about 50 miles from home the radio panel started flickering. I lost comms and finally after shutting off all the lights was able to contact approach and cancel my IFR flight plan. Took a minute to find out exactly where I was on the sectional and had to navigate around Palm Beach's Class C airspace to get to my destination.

Fortunately I had just broken out of IMC and was back in VFR conditions. Had to do a no-flap landing because by the time we got to the airport the battery was completely drained. Good thing it was a uncontrolled field and I was the only one in the pattern.
Yup, in a cessna 150 on a night cross country. About 10 mins after takeoff the red "low voltage" light came on. I turned around and clicked on the runway lights for my home field. On about a 2 mile final the electrics died all together so I made a no flap, no light night landing. It really wasn't a big deal, I had my flashlight for the instruments and I've landed w/o a landing light plenty of times. Plus with a 4000' runway, a no flap landing in a C-150 isn't exactly pushing the limits of braking.
Just out of curiousity for those of you who have experienced this... how much time did you have and what equipment were you running up to when the battery went kaput?
I had about 200 - 250 at the time (don't recall exactly) and I had all the standard C150 stuff (Radio, lights, intercom). I figured since I was so close to the airport I would just turn off the radio (after I turned on the lights at the field), intercom and strobes. I left on the pos. lights, beacon, and interior lights for as long as possible, then landed without any of them
Wow that must have been a hell of a battery to last 200-250 hours after the failure!!! LOL little miss communication there!
ah, gotcha

The battery died quite quickly - after the light came on it died in about 7 mins or so (I tested the light during the pre-takeoff check by flipping the alternator switch). I suspect the battery wasn't the best to start with.
My first IFR X/C for the instrument, we were enroute to DAB, about 15 miles north, and the alternator went TU. We were almost through the cloud deck. We got below into VFR conditions, and got the comm to come back on long enough to tell them what was up, and to get clearance to land. Really a non-event, even though it got my heart pumping for the first minute or so. We got the airport in sight, and saw all the ARFF trucks waiting beside the runway for us. Guess they were bored, or maybe they watch too many movies.
Yup. Count me in too

I was doing a currenty flight and rented a 150 from the local sweat shop, er, F.B.O. I was on my downwind leg and was attempting to extend some flaps. I watched the indicator for correct flap extension and it did not move. I then made a visual check and sure enough, they had not extended at all. I then cycled the switch a few times and still, no movement. Well, that attempt at putting the flaps must have done the battery in. Everything electrical in the plane, as far as I could tell, did not work. I made a quick pass along the breakers and they were all in. There were four other planes in the pattern with me. I just kept a little extra distance between the Archer in front of me and came in hot on final. It wasn't that big of a deal. It was kind of exciting to finally have something abnormal happen, and feel satisfied that I was well prepared. I had about 60 hours and it was at an uncontrolled airport also. Yeah, the FBO still billed me $11.00 for the flight time. Needless to say, I have not, nor will I ever, rent from that place again. It only takes one inflight emergency to cause a potential disaster. Keep you skills sharp.
Re: Yup. Count me in too

I lost an alternator today. We were IFR, way in the clouds. But it was cool, we've got two! (Seminole)