The jet engine

About once a week there is information in flight news channels about an engine problem of a more or less serious degree. Considering the roughly half a million flights per week, the reliability discussed in a previous article (in Swedish) is even so outstanding. Furthermore, the possibility of an engine failure is by the industry taken into account during every phase of flight, including take-off. An engine failure during take-off is understandably the most critical one to handle, and is consequently trained again and again during simulator sessions. All aircraft are designed and performance-wise capable of handling a failure of ONE engine anytime. To have two failures simultaneously is statistically more or less impossible, so the can be left out of the equation. This means that a twin-engine aircraft, among which there are many heavy jets, can continue the take-off on just one engine. The many super-heavy 4-engine jets can likewise climb away on the remaining three. (If you consider this for a little while you will come to the conclusion that a twin-engine aircraft with both engines operating has better performance. If not, send us a note)

The reliability is trusted by the airlines, who have better insight and statistics than anyone, and there is obviously a little prestige in utilizing this to it’s maximum. A few airlines are competing, trying to break and re-break the record for the longest non-stop flight possible. Qatar Airways, with a flight of just over 7.800 nautical miles between Dhoa and Aukland, will loose it’s record to Singapore Airlines later this year, when they re-introduce the 19 hour connection between Singapore and New York, beating Qatar with some 400 nautical miles. The aircraft is a A350-900ULR (ultra long range) with – you guessed it – only two engines. That record is already in jeopardy since Qantas is considering a 1000 NM longer flight between Sydney and London, possibly with a Boeing 777X, also a 2-engine aircraft. Inflight entertainment, among other amenities, will obviously have to reach new heights, if you want to make people spend almost a full day onboard an aircraft.

Eventually planes will be able to fly half way around the world. For a pilot life will the be much easier since he/she can fly in any direction to reach his destination on the opposite side of the globe.


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