In case the engine gives out

What happens when all the engines of an aircraft fail mid-air? Or even one of them fails?

The failure of one of the engines will lead to losing an aircraft’s maximum power, but it is still not a serious issue. The plane can continue to take off and also safely land.

There could be various reasons for an engine to fail. It could be mechanical problems, damage to the turbine or propellers, an oil leak, fuel contamination or even a foreign object hitting an engine, such as a bird. The odds of an engine failure are around one in a million. In the case of a four-engine aircraft such as a Boeing 747 or an Airbus 340, or even on a three-engine plane like a Boeing 737, it is possible to fly for five to six hours on a single engine.

However, if all the engines fail, the passenger aircraft are equipped to glide through the air and fly up to 100 km with no engine thrust. Planes are equipped to fly because of the movement of air passing over the wings, and as long as this continues to happen, the aircraft will continue to soar.

However, the aircraft should fly at a lower altitude to keep the air flowing over the wings. The pilot will have slightly over half an hour to look around for an airstrip to land safely, similar to the way it happened on January 15, 2009, when a US Airways flight 1549 was hit by a flock of Canada geese causing both the engines to shut down at 2,800 feet.

Capt Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who was the chief pilot of the aircraft, tried to land at nearby airports but found that it is was difficult to do so and hence ended up landing on a frigid Hudson River, prompting the New York Governor to call it a “miracle on the Hudson.” (Source:;; ScienceABC).

Published on

April 03, 2022

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