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The Spare Aircraft Engine

Makes Flying Safer
  [vote for,

It has recently been shown that on occasion, a commercial airplane with two engines may not have enough engines to keep the aircraft aloft, say in the situation that both engines fail for some reason or other. In the event that both engines fail at the same time, the pilot must bring the airplane back to the ground in an emergency situation, such as landing it in a corn field, lake, Hudson River and the like.

What is proposed here is a spare engine on every two-engine commercial airplane. The spare engine will not be ordinarily in use. But, in the event of a catastrophic failure of both working engines, the pilot need only turn on the spare engine which will continue to propel the aircraft, thereby removing the emergency situation so that the flight can proceed without needlessly endangering the crew and passengers. While airlines may complain that the cost would be too high to install a spare engine on each of its two-engine airplanes, its working crew and customers who fly in the aircraft will agree that no cost is too much to assure their safety. The spare engine could easily be retrofitted to the present two-engine aircraft by even the minimally trained aircraft designer.

el dueno

el dueno, Jan 18 2009

Executive One http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Executive_One
[Spacecoyote, Jan 19 2009]

Parachute option Parachute_20option
[ldischler, Jan 27 2009]


       Some commercial jets have 4 engines.
Spacecoyote, Jan 18 2009

       // its working crew and customers who fly in the aircraft will agree that no cost is too much to assure their safety.//   

       Actually, they won't. To say that "no cost is too much" is childish. By the same token "no amount of time saving is worth any risk", and we'd all walk. We'd also be happy to fly naked and luggageless to reduce the far greater threat from hijacking and terrorism.   

       //The spare engine could easily be retrofitted to the present two-engine aircraft by even the minimally trained aircraft designer.// This is a joke, yes? Is he going to blu- tac it onto one wing and rig a hose from a hole punched in a fuel tank?   

       Maxwell Buchanan
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 18 2009

       What ^^he^^ said.   

       El Custardguts
Custardguts, Jan 18 2009

       Two statisticians were flying from Los Angeles to New York. About an hour into the flight, the pilot announced, "Unfortunately, we have lost an engine, but don't worry: There are three engines left. However, instead of five hours, it will take seven hours to get to New York."   

       A little later, he told the passengers that a second engine had failed. "But we still have two engines left. We're still fine, except now it will take ten hours to get to New York."   

       Somewhat later, the pilot again came on the intercom and announced that a third engine had died. "But never fear, because this plane can fly on a single engine. Of course, it will now take 18 hours to get to New York."   

       At this point, one statistician turned to another and said, "Gee, I hope we don't lose that last engine, or we'll be up here forever!"
snoyes, Jan 18 2009

       Tsh boom. We'd like to thank Wilbur and Orville's Home for Elderly Jokes for presenting that one.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 18 2009

       Somehow the image of a stewardess yanking on a pull-start cord at the back of the plane comes to mind. The "retrofitted spare engine would stick down behind the plane like an outboard motor does on a boat with a very small propeller. Alternately for the nostalgia look the jet plane could be blessed with a huge front prop engine. Somebody illustrate that please!
WcW, Jan 18 2009

       //no cost is too much// I agree. Let's require planes to have duplicate wings, control surfaces, and fuel supplies as well. Let's require planes carry parachutes, and inflatable plane-sized cushions in case the parachutes fail. Let's tranquilize the passengers and pack them into custard-filled compartments for protection from impacts, bad airline food and obese seatmates.   


       sninctown sninctown   

       sninctown sninctown sninctown
sninctown, Jan 19 2009

       Regardless of the cost issues, loss of the engines is rarely a problem (at 30,000ft a plane can glide for around 100 miles) unless it happens just after take-off. In that situation there would be no time to deploy and start another engine.   

       Anyway, why have the spare engine not running. I would assume that like most things, jet engines are most likely to fail when starting or perhaps when suddenly put at full thrust just after starting. If the engine is running then your idea is to have a 3-engined plane, which is pretty baked.   

       The only thing that might be vaguely practical is rocket engines that can be fired at the whack of a button, blowing off the covers that conceal them. This might give the plane enough height to complete a circuit and land.   

       Still too heavy to be economical and wildly impractical though, and far inferior to a parachute, which I think should be mandatory. The plane I fly has one, the Apollo capsules had them, I'd happily sacrifice 1kg of luggage to have one on a commercial flight.
marklar, Jan 19 2009

       Executive One [link], an example of the efficiency and ingenuity of the Nixon administration.
Spacecoyote, Jan 19 2009

       //The only thing that might be vaguely practical is rocket engines//

       Pulsejet: great power:weight, lightweight and you don't need a siren to tell everybody that you have problems... I imagine one that could power a jumbojet could be heard hundreds of miles away.
FlyingToaster, Jan 19 2009

       I was imagining getting out of the 'plane to fetch the spare engine from the boot/trunk, unbolting the faulty engine, and bolting on the spare. ("Damn! Who put a broken spare engine back in the boot? Now we'll have to call the RAA/AAA/ whatever.")
spidermother, Jan 27 2009

       Perhaps rather than a spare engine or parachute, have a very tall jack on the plane. In the event of both engines failing, simply crank the base of the jack down until it touches the ground, so the plane can safely balance on it until the problem is fixed - like a car but a little higher.   

       el dueno - what you describe is a bit baked - I guess with just a few transfers you can currently get between almost any major airport on a 4 engine jet. Of course you may have to cross an ocean a few times but //no cost is too much to assure their [your] safety//   

       el MadnessInMyMethod
MadnessInMyMethod, Jan 27 2009

       wheres my illustration? Please you talented people draw me a modern jet with a nostalgic single prop engine in the nose. Pleeease pleeease preeeety pleeeease.
WcW, Jan 27 2009

       Maybe there could be an emergency flap that drops in front of the engines when the pilot spots a flock of birds? The plane might jostle but it won't crash.   

       Birds are probably more spottable from an airplane based radar than from the ground.
phundug, Jan 27 2009

       //Maybe there could be an emergency flap that drops in front of the engines when the pilot spots a flock of birds? The plane might jostle but it won't crash.//   

       We-ell, this would undoubtedly stall the engines, not to mention that said flap would have to be pretty heavy duty (read: heavy). So you're goinjg to end up trying to restart the engines after a not-so brief period of "gliding" through the flock of birds.   

       I'd call the prospect of flaming out all your onboard engines on a commercial flight as a precautionary measure far more hazardous than the low chance of ingesting a bird carcass and destroying one of several engines in the first place.
Custardguts, Jan 28 2009

       you had me at //the image of a stewardess yanking//
Voice, Jan 28 2009


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