If you lose one engine during takeoff in a multi-engine aircraft, you're trained to follow a standard emergency procedure: Pitch for Vy, use bank and rudder for zero side slip, mixture full rich, props full forward, power full forward, gear and flaps up, and then run an emergency checklist for one engine failure.

When one engine failure happens in a modern jetliner, what do the pilots do? Do they engage the autopilot right away so that the computer can take care of pitch, bank, and rudder for the best performance for a single engine operation? Or do they basically follow the same procedure as the one written above, which is used by GA multi-engine pilots?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ As a comment since the info is dated. In the 1990s in 747-100/200 aircraft the pilots would continue to hand fly the aircraft. If they decided to continue the flight rather than return to a landing, they might choose to engage the autopilot during cruise. Personally, I wouldn't do that, and I once hand flew from Santiago, Chile to Panama City, Panama when we lost an engine shortly after takeoff. $\endgroup$ – Terry Jul 31 '17 at 7:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Terry Did it use substantially more fuel on 3 engines? $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Aug 1 '17 at 21:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @TomMcW Yes, indeed. We had fueled for a flight to Miami. Rather than dump fuel and return, it made more sense cost wise to burn the fuel to continue and get as far as we could, and that was Panama City. Our takeoff was at max gross, and we couldn't get high enough on 3 engines to clear the Andes on our original route. Thus not only were we down low with the higher associated burn rates, but our necessarily revised routing was far less direct. In Panama, we offloaded the cargo (it was a freighter), and then did a 3-engine ferry to Miami. $\endgroup$ – Terry Aug 1 '17 at 22:52

Most non-normal ops in an airliner follow the same concepts for light aircraft - make sure the aeroplane is under control and following the desired flight path before you do anything - which includes engaging an autopilot.

So for the Boeing aircraft I fly, ensure you've got a positive rate of climb, speed should be V2 - V2+15, ensure the aeroplane is in trim (pitch first, then rudder) and your following any prescribed engine failure routing.

In terms of autopilot use, part of our company SOP is to engage the autopilot at 1000ft AAL, this is not to relieve the pilot of the responsibility of maintaining control - it won't control the rudder - more to reduce the immediate workload and allow more effective management of the non-normal situation. Once the autopilot is engaged the aeroplane can be accelerated, flaps retracted and any non-normal checklist completed.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ Does the yaw damper not have enough authority to handle an engine out? $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Aug 1 '17 at 18:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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