Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Engine failure

Although aircraft are now designed to fly even after the failure of one or more aircraft engines, the failure of the second engine on one side for example is obviously serious. Losing all engine power is even more serious, as illustrated by the 1970 Dominican a DC-9 air disaster, when fuel contamination caused the failure of both engines. To have an emergency landing site is then very important.

In the 1983 Gimli Glider incident, an Air Canada flight suffered fuel exhaustion during cruise flight, forcing the pilot to glide the plane to an emergency dead stick landing. The automatic deployment of the ram air turbine maintained the necessary hydraulic pressure to the flight controls, so that the pilot was able to land with only a minimal amount of damage to the plane, and minor (evacuation) injuries to a few passengers.

The ultimate form of engine failure, physical separation, occurred in 1979 when a complete engine detached from American Airlines Flight 191, causing damage to the aircraft and loss of control.

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