Assessment of the Engines-Out Flight Performance of a Commercial Jet

Assessment of the Engines-Out Flight Performance of a Commercial Jet

Kivanc A. Avrenli (Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA) and Barry J. Dempsey (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJASOT.2014070103
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While today's twin-engine jets are more efficient than yesterday's three- and four-engine jets, they are more vulnerable to total loss of power due to reduced engine redundancy. Total loss of power is a grave emergency situation because it leaves the flight crew with only one chance for landing. In the history of commercial aviation, total loss of power commonly occurred at lower altitudes, which gave flight crews very limited time to react. Thus, it is essential for flight crews to have sufficient knowledge on aircraft power-off glide performance. However, flight crew operating manuals scarcely present any relevant information. To fill in this gap, this study assess the power-off glide performance of the Airbus A320, which forms the backbone of the U.S. Commercial Aviation Industry. The study develops handy references for A320 pilots regarding aircraft power-off glide range and endurance. For future research, the findings can be utilized to develop an innovative, real-time power-off glide-range-depiction device for the A320.
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In 1954, the Boeing Company introduced the 707, which was the first American jetliner. In response to the 707, the Douglas Company launched DC-8 as its first jetliner in 1957 (Commercial Aircraft of the World, 1960). Unlike today’s typical jetliners, both aircraft were powered by four turbojet engines. Indeed by 1965, around 87% of the U.S. commercial fleet consisted of three- or four-engine aircraft (Dolbeer, Wright, Weller, & Begier, 2013).

In late 1965, the Douglas Company entered its first twin-engine jetliner, DC-9, into service for short-haul and frequent flights (The DC-9 and the Deep Stall, 1965). Two years later, Boeing introduced the twin-engine 737, which later became the best-selling aircraft family in the history of commercial aviation (Kingsley-Jones, 2009). In 1974, the Airbus A300 entered service as the first twin-engine, wide-body jetliner (Airbus, 2013a). In 1989, the FAA allowed 180-minute extended operations (ETOPS) for the first time for a twin-engine jetliner. Since then, twin-engine jetliners have progressively become more prevalent on trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes (Boeing, 1998). As of today, more than 92% of the U.S. Commercial Fleet consists of twin-engine jetliners (Dolbeer, Wright, Weller, & Begier, 2013). In 2012, twin-engine jetliners transported around 96% of all 751 million passengers on U.S. air carriers (RITA, 2014).


  • IJASOT.2014070103.m01: Lift coefficient;

  • IJASOT.2014070103.m02: Drag coefficient;

  • IJASOT.2014070103.m03: Center of gravity for the aircraft;

  • IJASOT.2014070103.m04: Predicted engines-out glide ratio at constant descent rate during wings-level flight;

  • IJASOT.2014070103.m05: Flight path angle;

  • IJASOT.2014070103.m06: Predicted altitude loss (ft) per minute during steady-speed engines-out descent;

  • IJASOT.2014070103.m07: Predicted steady-state engines-out glide range (nm) per 1,000-ft altitude loss;

  • IJASOT.2014070103.m08: Lowest selectable airspeed;

  • IJASOT.2014070103.m09: Maximum flap extended airspeed.

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