Top 5 Aircraft Engine Myths
Aircraft Engine Myths within any technological field are not uncommon, although some aren’t technically myths but rather a difference of opinion. So let’s take a look at a few of the old wives’ tales involving the aircraft engine.
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Myth 1: You can save money by buying and restoring a fixer-upper aircraft.
This is a downright myth unless the aircraft engine’s TBO is still a long way to go, the frame has no damage and corrosion, and you have a workshop and the skills to do most of the expensive and complicated repairs.
Myth 2: Jet engine failure always results in a catastrophic accident.
Most small airplanes have only one engine, whereas commercial and large planes usually have two and four, allowing them to fly faster and carry more passengers.
Did you know that airplanes, regardless of their size, are designed with multiple fail-safes and redundant systems? Consequently, multi-engine planes have enough power to fly just fine with one engine. And if all engines fail, they can still glide for a significant distance, allowing the pilots to perform an emergency landing. In fact, all certified pilots for a multi-engine plane have received extensive training on how to fly it in the event of a complete engine failure.
Myth 3: Lightning strikes lead to engine failure.
Did you know that all planes are expected to get hit by lightning once every 1,000 hours of flight, which is roughly equivalent to once a year? Fortunately, their external framework is an excellent conductor of electricity, allowing it to pass through the plane without entering the cabin or the engine.
In a nutshell, planes are safer than any other mode of transportation, with one study suggesting that there is only one in a 3.37 billion chance of dying in a commercial plane crash versus one out of 107 in a car accident.
Myth 4: You can prevent engine rust by running it on the ground at least once a month.
Under normal conditions, getting your aircraft engine hot enough on the ground is almost impossible to cook out any moisture from the oil. In fact, it generally takes at least two laps to get the temperature high enough to even start the cleaning process.
Myth 5: High RPM increases wear and tear.
As long as your engine is well-maintained and sufficiently lubricated, which means there is a thin film of oil preventing metal-to-metal contact, high RPM doesn’t necessarily increase wear and tear.
Nonetheless, data shows that lower RMPs are not just quieter and lead to reduced frictional loss, but they also promote increased propeller efficiency and horsepower. With this in mind, experts suggest that maximum RPM is best reserved for taking off and climbing in which you need more power and mass airflow.
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The Bottom Line on Aircraft Engine Myths
Even though aviation is governed by exact science (i.e., mechanical activity and laws of physics), it’s quite surprising that you’d hear myths or at least some points of disagreement. But if there’s one thing everyone should agree on is the importance of finding a service repair expert and FAA-approved exhaust parts supplier.