Common Aircraft Engine Myths

While aircraft have become a staple of worldwide travel which can be found across the globe, many still have little understanding of the true inner workings of these flying vehicles. For example, the engine is a very complex and powerful apparatus, allowing for enough thrust and power to be generated for heavy aircraft to remain airborne. Even in the aviation industry itself, there are often misconceptions about aircraft engines in terms of operational capabilities and hazards. As misconceptions are important to clear up for safety and proper operations, we will discuss the most common myths surrounding aircraft engines and why they are untrue.

One of the most popular myths of engine operation is that higher RPMs lead to increased wear. While this can be true to a degree, it is important to understand why it tends to occur. For example, simply running engines at higher speeds will not directly cause more wear, but if lubrication levels are low, higher RPMs will cause increased metal-to-metal contact which can be extremely damaging. As such, it is not the speed that causes the issue, but the metal-to-metal contact which can be treated with the application of oils.

Another common myth is that engine failure will always lead to a disastrous accident. Oftentimes, this myth is the most prevalent around single-engine aircraft with no backup systems. Despite the fact that size and engine configuration varies across all aircraft, all are designed with a number of backups and failsafes to keep pilots and passengers safe in the instance of a failure. For a multi-engine aircraft facing engine failure, the other engines will ensure enough power is available to make a safe landing or restart. Furthermore, even smaller aircraft can utilize the ability of gliding to conduct an emergency landing if the engine will not restart at all.

Another hazard that many pilots are aware of is the possibility of lightning strikes, and it is often thought that such strikes to the engine can lead to failure. In reality, aircraft tend to be struck by lightning once every 1,000 hours of flight, yet passengers and others are rarely aware of such instances. This is because of the safety design of aircraft, electrical conductor components being situated around structures to safely direct any current that sources from a strike. Since the engine has the potential of combustion with the presence of fuel, ample focus is put on protecting such assemblies.

When it comes down to the power settings of the engine during flight, there is a common saying that one should never lean over 75% power. This often comes from the fact that manufacturers and engineers make decisions on what cylinder pressures are suitable for long-term durability, and instruments will have hash marks to denote operational parameters. This myth is not completely unfounded, as remaining under 75% power can ensure a better chance of everything remaining stable and secure. Despite this, there is not always a clear connection between power and hazard, as an engine operating at 85% power with a proper LOP will actually face less cylinder pressure tension than a similar engine running at 75% power while at 50 degrees Celsius.

As a final common myth, many claim that the time in which a turbocharger is the coolest is when it is left idle for any period of time, especially when placed within a cowling. Despite this, evidence and testing points to the fact that the turbocharger or a turbocharged aircraft is the coolest following a low-power approach with little to no evidence suggesting otherwise. Because of this, turbocharged aircraft have had no clear evidence of facing problems when directly taxiing to a hanger and shutting off after flight.

By having better knowledge of the common myths of aviation and why they are untrue, you can better remain safe while piloting your own aircraft. Here on NSN Axis, we can help you procure all the various parts and components that you require for your aircraft with an unrivaled inventory of items. Explore our website as you see fit, and all listings are ready for purchase at any time. With our online RFQ forms, you can quickly and easily request quotes for your comparisons with responses given within 15 minutes of our team receiving and reviewing your request. Kick-off the procurement process today and let NSN Axis operate as your strategic sourcing partner. 


January 7, 2022

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