4 things you should know about engines

The engine of an aircraft is much, much more than just a motor! It contains all the parts necessary to produce sufficient propulsion for the aircraft to leave the ground. We got together with the experts on your behalf and found out 4 things you really need to know about the engine on an aircraft.


1. How powerful is an engine measured in horsepower?

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“From a physical standpoint, you can’t actually measure the power of jet engines in horsepower. With aircraft engines, we refer to the thrust measured in ‘kilonewtons’ or ‘kilograms’.

However, it is possible to calculate the horsepower, at least approximately, to give you an idea of the power engines produce,” explains an expert from Austrian Engine Engineering. Calculated in horsepower, therefore, here’s the power individual aircraft engines produce:

When taking off, a Boeing 777 produces 52,000 HP…

… an Airbus 320 produces 16,000 HP

… a Boeing 767 produces 32,000 HP

2. Colossal silencers

The High Power Run Up is a stress test , and so-called trial run which engines have to go through. If an engine is exchanged , due to a defect or general check, then a high power run-up has to be carried out on the new engine before it can be used on the aircraft for the first time. The aircraft is only allowed to take off with the exchanged engine after passing the test! By the way : it can take up to 24 hours to exchange an engine!

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In the high power run-up , the engines are accelerated strongly while the aircraft is standing still on the ground. During the test, it can get so loud that colossally large silencers are used (have to be, that is), so the airstream of the engines can be silenced, and above all redirected, by the silencers. On larger aircraft, however, not even these silencers are sufficiently strong, due to the power of the engines. In such cases, the stress tests are carried out at the edge of the airport, where they cannot cause any damage.

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Silencers on the apron in front of the Austrian Airlines hangar

3. Spectacular: the blade out test

Austrian Turbine

In worst case, foreign matters can lead to one of the blades of the engines being damaged and torn off. Foreign matters include birds (bird strike), but also stones and screws amonst other things. To ensure the torn-off blade remains in the engine casing and does not spin outwards, these situations are tested while the engines are being developed.

One of the most spectacular of these engine tests is the blade out test . In a blade out test, a blade of this sort is blasted outwards while the engine is rotating at full speed to test how the engine performs in such an emergency. In the test, the engine has to keep the blade which has been blasted out within the engine casing. This test is also necessary if the engine is to retain its licence to be used at all.

4. And why does the engine have that white loop?

Austrian Turbine

We asked the experts, and here’s what they said: “The white loop at the centre of the engine is actually only there for one reason: so that you can see immediately whether the engine is moving or not.” Sounds palusible. 😉

Do you have any other questions about engines? We look forward to reading your comments!

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