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Can an airplane fly even after engine failure? Yes, it can

India Today logo India Today 28-09-2017 IndiaToday.in

Comfort and convenience--that's what air travel has become synonymous with today.

Flights may have become a regular mode of conveyance for many, but in each departure is a latent sense of anxiety and apprehension about reaching your destination safely. The fear cannot be completely ruled out and naturally so, since we still encounter cases of air travel mishaps.

One such instance could be engine failure while onboard a flight. As scary as it sounds, when an engine shuts down, it doesn't make the plane drop from the sky immediately. In fact, during those rare cases of an engine failure in the past, the flight generally remained airborne till the crew managed to to make an emergency landing. Cases in point are the catastrophic engine failure of Qantas flight 32 or that of US Airways flight 1549.

So, in such situations, instead of panicking, one should just stay calm and pay attention to the crew's instructions.

To begin with, an engine may shut down during flight for reasons ranging from ingestion of material (birds, volcanic ash or hail) to system malfunction. In case of a ''flame-out'', the engine stops getting fuel while the crew works to ''slow the aircraft and descend to a lower attitude as they troubleshoot the problem,'' Ken Hoke, a Boeing 757/767 captain and author of aviation explainer site AeroSavvy.com, told Conde Nast Traveller.

Also Read: 4 super-interesting things you did not know about a plane landing

"Landing with one engine inoperative is very similar to a normal landing," added Hoke. "In fact, many modern airliners can even auto-land with one engine shut down. The biggest difference passengers will notice is emergency personnel standing by as a precaution," said the captain.

In cases of engine failure, the movement of air over the wings is enough to allow the airplane to glide, resulting in a safe and gradual landing.

"In most engine failure situations, passengers experience no worse than a delay in their travel plans," said Captain Hoke.

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