Aviation Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for aircraft pilots, mechanics, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I saw this picture in Wikipedia with a Su-33 jet on carrier deck with some barrier raised from the deck behind the jet tail:

some barrier behind the jet tail

What is this barrier for and what's the official term for it?

share|improve this question

The official name is a Jet Blast Deflector.

As the name suggests, they direct the fast-moving and hot air from the jet engines upwards. This protects the personnel and equipment behind the departing aircraft from getting blown around or damaged from the jet blast. Because of the high temperature of the jet blast, they may have active cooling systems, and must be allowed to cool sufficiently before being used as regular deck again.

To illustrate the risks, see this video, which shows a vehicle being blown away by a 747.

There was also a recent event in Pakistan where a 737 damaged the tarmac (and, as a result, itself) during an engine run-up.

To make a comparison, each engine on a 737-400 can produce up to 22,000 lbf (98 kN) of thrust. The Su-33 in your picture has two engines close together which can each produce 16,750 lbf (74.5 kN) of thrust, or 28,214 lbf (125.5 kN) with afterburner. That's a total of 56,248 lbf of thrust in afterburner, or 2.5 times the force of one engine on the 737-400. Of course, this does not directly equate to jet blast or temperatures, but it is a good indicator of the forces involved.

To provide a better idea of the jet blast, see this chart (based on the 737-800). At 20 m behind the tail (which is about 20 m behind the engines), the jet blast can reach 300 km/hr at takeoff thrust. For more details about jet blast on the 737 series, see the Boeing documentation.

The CFM56-3 (used on the 737-400) can produce exhaust gas temperature (EGT) of up to 930 C at takeoff. This will mix with the cooler bypass air (and ambient air) to reach cooler temperatures further behind the engine. Military jet engines have a smaller bypass ratio, which means there is less of the cool bypass air in the exhaust to mix with the hot core exhaust.

share|improve this answer
The 737-800 chart makes no sense. First, the axes are the wrong way around -- you choose the distance behind the tail and measure the exhaust velocity there, so the distance should be on the horizontal axis and velocity on the vertical. Second, the small secondary peak at velocity ~230 means that the graph claims three different velocities at ~30m aft (about 180, 220 and 240). Third, a 737 at take-off thrust really generates 60kph winds half a kilometer behind itself? That seems infeasibly high, given the turbulent flow. – David Richerby Jul 2 '14 at 18:55
@DavidRicherby I agree that the axes should be switched. The peak around 230m is due to the function chosen to connect the data points. However, the values do seem to match the Boeing data. The velocities do seem high, but this is why they have blast fences. Just watch that linked video: those engines are 3 times as powerful as a 737 engine, but still have high velocity blast at least 100m behind the engines. – fooot Jul 2 '14 at 19:19
Those Lyulka 31 engines have a much lower bypass ratio, hence a much higher exhaust speed, than any of the 737 engines you mention. OTOH, the mass flow is lower, so the jet blast is smaller in diameter but more intense. – Peter Kämpf Jul 2 '14 at 19:26

It's a blast fence to prevent that the groundcrew walking behind the jet get blown away by the jet blast.

share|improve this answer

It is a blast fence to protect the planes behind it from the destructive force of the jet blast of the plane in front of the fence. The plane in position for takoff will go to full power for takeoff.

Check out this video of a pickup truck being towed through the full power exhaust behind a jet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFP4xl0V0mk

share|improve this answer
The Top Gear version is more fun. :-) – David Richerby Jul 2 '14 at 19:04

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.