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What happens if an engine fails between V1 and V2 on a modern twin airliner?

As I understand it, at V1 you have enough runway remaining to safely stop and abort the takeoff. V2 is the lowest single engine flying speed.

If an engine is going to fail, surely it will be at the worst possible time.

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  • $\begingroup$ After V1 the pilot will continue the takeoff even with an engine failure. The standard procedure is to take one's hand off the thrust levers at V1 to avoid the temptation of aborting a takeoff if there's a engine failure. $\endgroup$ – Steve Kuo Jul 29 '16 at 21:38
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If an engine failure occurs above V1 the aircraft can accelerate to the Vr and take-off, retract gear and accelerate to V2 and pass the end of the runway at a height of at least 35 feet. From there, flying at V2 or above the aircraft can climb at angle that keeps it clear of nearby obstacles.

Part of the aircraft's certification is to demonstrate that this is possible. This question is related to the exact requirements.


To determine the minimum runway length required, two scenarios are calculated. The first scenario has the aircraft accelerating to V1, suffering an engine failure at V1 and then aborting the take-off. This gives the Accelerate - Stop Distance Required (ASDR). The higher V1, the higher the ASDR.

The second scenario has the aircraft accelerating to V1, suffering an engine failure at V1 and then continuing the take-off. This take-off involves accelerating from V1 to Vr, lifting off, retracting gear while accelerating and climbing, reaching V2 and 35 feet at the end of the runway. The runway length required for this scenario is the Take-Off Distance Required (TODR). The higher V1 the lower the TODR. This because when V1 is higher the part of the scenario that involves accelerating on a single engine becomes smaller.

These calculations take into account aircraft weight, engine thrust, aircraft configuration and runway condition.

For the V1 that gives the same ASDR as TODR, the required runway length is shortest. This is called the balanced field length.


This video is an example of an engine failure between V1 and V2. While the aircraft is rotating the engine ingests a heron resulting in big balls of fire. The aircraft lifts of, accelerates and climbs away at angle steep enough to avoid obstacles.

Rejecting a take-off above V1 will likely result in a runway excursion.

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V1 is the decision speed, the decision being to continue the take off. After this, you will take the failed engine into the air. V2 and VR do not change following an engine failure, nor will you stop accelerating. Part 25 aircraft must be certified to be able to continue a take off with one engine after V1.

V1 is the critical engine failure recognition speed or takeoff decision speed. It is the decision speed nominated by the pilot which satisfies all safety rules, and above which the takeoff will continue even if an engine fails.

That said, there have been examples of RTOs between V1 and V2. This FAA paper will give you lots of good data and examples of RTOs both before and after V1.

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