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I am wondering if any plane can become ETOPS certified? And, is ETOPS the right acronym?

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Theoretically anything can be certified if resources are allocated to meet certification requirements. It may not be practical though:

  1. The plane must have at least two engines (obviously)
  2. It must have the range to fly to an alternate on one engine only
  3. Engine failure should not increase cockpit workload too much. Mostly this means some automation system that can operate with asymmetrical thrust.

(2) rules out small twin-engine planes that only have a few hours of endurance on a full tank, and (3) rules out anything without a glass cockpit and avionics suite.

Also, ETOPS is not just about aircraft design; it deals with aircraft maintenance as well. The manufacturer and operator need to come up with a maintenance program that reduces in-flight failures by monitoring various metrics and taking preventive actions before a component fault happens.

Therefore, on some aircrafts, it may not be worth the effort to obtain ETOPS.

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  • $\begingroup$ Also, ETOPS is a qualification for commercial passenger aircraft - if it's not commercial or it's not passenger, then it doesn't need ETOPS. $\endgroup$ – RAC Nov 21 '17 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ Theoretically, could a single-engine plane satisfy the requirements if it had extremely good glide performance? $\endgroup$ – Sean Feb 3 '19 at 4:50
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know how the regulations are written, but the best gliders have a glide ratio of about 70:1, assuming that can be sustained from 30000 feet to the ground that would give a range in still air of about 400 miles. I suspect reality is much worse as it would be difficult to maintain a good glide ratio through widely changing atmospheric conditions. $\endgroup$ – Peter Green Jun 1 at 1:08

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