Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Did You Know? It only takes one engine to safety fly a two engine plane

Over the next year you will learn the minimum you should know to be a confident passenger on any flight. There is nothing for you to do as all safety precautions are already baked in. If you plan to become a pilot, this will take the mystery out of the Big Picture.

Did you know?

Airplane engines are structurally designed to be fully capable of producing all the power required to fly the aircraft should either one of the two engines fail.

On occasion, engine malfunctions or failures may occur that require an engine to be shut down during a flight. Yet there’s no need to worry, because the inflight shutdown of an engine is typically not a serious safety of flight issue, although airport fire and rescue equipment are usually positioned near the runway as a precautionary measure.

At cruise altitude, one engine typically produces 40% of its capacity. Airplane engines are actually capable of running above 100%, but only for a few seconds before intervention by the pilot. Engines run at 90% of capacity for takeoff, but during normal flight they run at less than 50%. Therefore, should an engine fail during flight, simply doubling power on the remaining good engine is within its normal power range.  If a pilot loses an engine while at high cruise altitude, charts are available to determine the single engine ceiling. The pilot will have to descend to a safe altitude to continue to efficiently fly on a single engine.

Most in-flight engine shutdowns follow flowchart like, pre-planned calculated steps. The response is immediate, with no emotional considerations. Pilots practice, over and over again, different circumstances and situations in which they would find themselves with a single engine. Sometimes the pilot determines that the engine malfunction requires a shutdown to eliminate unintended consequences or safeguard deterioration of other safety of flight components. Sometimes they practice an engine failing for no readily apparent known cause, such as during takeoff or just after takeoff. This almost never happens in real life but pilots practice it anyway. There is no surprise moment for a failed engine. And training is repetitive along those lines. Single-engine flight is practiced so often during training that pilots find the procedure more routine than threatening.

 Experienced pilots will be more concerned when shutting down an engine, to manipulate the airplane in such a way that the passengers do not realize what has happened. And for the astute, it will simply sound like an air conditioner shutting down.  Modernization and technology also assists pilots with automation. For example, a Boeing 777 is designed to fly for at least 3 hours on just one engine, giving the pilot adequate time to find a nearby airport to land. Single engine flight on all aircraft is limited by fuel on board, which is calculated into hours.

Join #AviationCarolinaKids if you want to attend Aviation Camps of the Carolinas to get the full details on this and other inside information.

1 comment:

  1. I might have seen the USS Enterprise flying with a warp nacelle blown off, but, you know, Star Trek. I'm glad to learn we have safeguards like that in real life too.