Consider an aircraft has fuel tanks only in wings (No central tank).

Will the fuel for the respective engines will be consumed from the respective wings?

In case of a single engine failure, if the fuel is keep on consumed by the active engine, whereas not consumed in the inactive/damaged engine, will this affect the aerodynamic property of aircraft?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The fuel can be crossfed to the other engine $\endgroup$
    – Steve Kuo
    Jul 1, 2018 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ while not a duplicate, this question has some similarities aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/52805/… $\endgroup$
    – ironduke97
    Jul 2, 2018 at 2:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ On 747-100/200 aircraft you can cause any engine to operate from fuel in any of the seven or nine tanks, except for the reserve tanks, which drain into their respective main tank. Thus, in case of an engine failure (or 3-engine ferry), it does require the flight engineer to stay awake to manage the fuel. If he doesn't stay awake and the captain notices the airplane is getting a little wing heavy on a side, it is usually sufficient to turn and, in a loud voice and with appropriate 4-letter words, wake the flight engineer. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Jul 31, 2018 at 18:44

3 Answers 3


That’s a pretty broad topic and depends on the aircraft in question and the fuel systems which it uses.

Large airplanes like jetliners have complex fuel management systems which feed fuel from the main tanks into feeder tanks which the engines can “drink” from. The process is automated in modern aircraft - around the same time that the Flight Engineer went the way of the dinosaur - so little, if any, input from the crew is required in the process.

On smaller twins, say, for example, a Cessna 310, fuel is provided to the engines via a dedicated main fuel tank and optional aux tanks for each engine. In the event of an engine failure, the pilot can select the ability to cross feed the good engine on the fuel system for the bad engine in order to prevent a fuel imbalance.


While a tank generally provides fuel to the engines on that wing, an engine can also use fuel from the tank on the opposite side, if the crossfeed valve is opened by the setting in the control panel. While the question itself may not be a duplicate, this answer likely explains enough.


14 CFR § 25.1001 Fuel jettisoning system.

(a) A fuel jettisoning system must be installed on each airplane unless it is shown that the airplane meets the climb requirements of §§ 25.119 and 25.121(d) at maximum takeoff weight, less the actual or computed weight of fuel necessary for a 15-minute flight comprised of a takeoff, go-around, and landing at the airport of departure with the airplane configuration, speed, power, and thrust the same as that used in meeting the applicable takeoff, approach, and landing climb performance requirements of this part.

14 CFR § 25.121 Climb: One-engine-inoperative.

(d) Approach. In a configuration corresponding to the normal all-engines-operating procedure in which VSR for this configuration does not exceed 110 percent of the VSR for the related all-engines-operating landing configuration: (1) The steady gradient of climb may not be less than 2.1 percent for two-engine airplanes, 2.4 percent for three-engine airplanes, and 2.7 percent for four-engine airplanes, with - (i) The critical engine inoperative, the remaining engines at the go-around power or thrust setting; (ii) The maximum landing weight; (iii) A climb speed established in connection with normal landing procedures, but not exceeding 1.4 VSR; and (iv) Landing gear retracted. (2) The requirements of paragraph (d)(1) of this section must be met: (i) In non-icing conditions; and (ii) In icing conditions with the most critical of the approach ice accretion(s) defined in Appendices C and O of this part, as applicable, in accordance with § 25.21(g). The climb speed selected for non-icing conditions may be used if the climb speed for icing conditions, computed in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(iii) of this section, does not exceed that for non-icing conditions by more than the greater of 3 knots CAS or 3 percent.

In short - in case of an engine failure, fuel may be dumped to achieve acceptable handling characteristics for approach.

Furthermore, I would add that based on many articles I've read about engine failure involving fire, it's not uncommon for nearly all fuel to be dumped before landing, to avoid a fireball on the ground. I will attempt to find some references for this.


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