I had an engine fart once, not a real failure. Got me on the ground pretty quick, though.
I was working through some stuff for my instrument ride at the time. I decided to go up and just go through the motions of what approaches I figured I'd be doing, but without the hood on. I go to Lansing fine, then went over to Flint. I went to shoot the NDB 9 and did the approach fine, went missed at 500' and at over the end of the runway and then the fun started.
I put the power all the way in of course, took the heat off and called the missed to the tower. About halfway down the runway the tach went from redline (where it should have been) to idle, to redline, to idle. It did this 3 times I think. My stomach just about dropped out. I already didn't like this plane as it has had some engine failures before, so I figured I was just the next one in line. By the time this stopped (maybe 10 seconds later) I was already in a turn back to the airport. I called the tower up and told them I was turning into a modified downwind for 9 and I was going to be on the ground in a few minutes. He told me that I was cleared to land any runway and they asked if I needed emergency vehicles. I told them I didn't need anything right now, just needed to get on the ground and get the engine checked out.
Thinking back, I should have done some things differently. I didn't trim for 65 knots, didn't go through the memory items; I just turned and started down. I knew exactly where the runway was and didn't have a lot of time to d*ck around if the engine decided to completly cut out. I flew the plane first and then let ATC know what was going on (It was a Class C airport). I probably could have flown forward for a few more seconds while I called them, but I made the turn first and then let them know what was happening. The only reason I say that is I could have turned right into someone on a final for the perpendicular (sp) intersecting runway (which was about the point where the engine decided to fart).
I got on the ground, had the FBO call a mechanic in. He came in, asked me some questions and decided that I had a stuck valve. I said "Alright...what's that?" and he briefly explained it while he threw something in the fuel tanks that he said would prevent it from happening again. Handed him $40 and we were both on our way. Flint is only about 30 miles from where I train at so I jumped in, she didn't fart, and got back home. I thanked the tower about three times on my way out for dealing with me.
Know what the worst thing was? When I got back, my FBO kept the plane online. They didn't have a mechanic look at it, and my instructor didn't know about it until I told her about it I don't believe. I was kind of angry about that one. Hopefully the people that own it right now will sell the place and someone who cares more than them will buy the place up. Wishful thinking, probably.
That's my engine fart story. Hope someone can beat it, it's kinda lame.