“Aircraft engine failure” is one of the most unsettling phrases in the aviation community. Failures of aircraft engine can be caused by a multitude of different parts malfunctions, and/or pilot error. The statistics on the frequency of aircraft engine failures are sparse and convoluted. However, for commercial air travel, most modern twin engine passenger jets are designed to function safely even if one engine fails. Engine failure as a result of part malfunction seems to differ between the type of engine. So, let’s take a look at an industry standard—turbine engine failure.
Statistically, the most immediate problem that ensues as a result of engine failure in a turbine engine is loss of thrust. Thrust propels the plane forward consistently at a predetermined altitude. This is part of achieving what the pilot on a commercial aircraft announces as “cruising altitude”. Without thrust, the plane starts to lose altitude. The speed at which this happens depends on the damage to flight control surfaces. If the aircraft wings, tail plane, or ram air turbine are damaged, engine failure can quickly become a more serious problem. A pilot will need to glide the aircraft to safety. Aircraft pilots should have completed thorough training to know how to calculate the altitude and angle in which they can bring the plane to safety, and where to do so. Due to the dual engine system in a jet aircraft, only a record of 3 engine failures resulting in gliding have occurred in the last decade.
Aircraft maintenance and regular inspections are integral to ensuring that aircraft parts are not vulnerable or damaged in order to prevent engine failure. Reported aircraft engine failures in the last fifty years total under 10— and they are typically caused by poor decisions or judgment from the pilot and/or crew. Extreme weather events leading to malfunctions are also common sources for engine failure, so scheduling regular inspections of parts is essential as a preventative measure to avoid engine failure on your aircraft.
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