What are the most frequent causes of flameout, excluding ingestion of foreign objects and other sudden forms of damage to the engine?

I'm limiting this to modern turbojet and turbofan engines with a computerized (digital), closed loop engine management system.

E.g. what could cause a F119-PW-100 engine to flameout or otherwise fail?

I'm not looking for a thorough study or carefully detailed statistics, I doubt something like that even exists. I'm basically asking if this ever happens, or if this is basically a thing of the past with early fighters, such as the Me 262. Are modern jet engines "bulletproof"?

If it does happen, then how?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Fuel exhaustion usually does the trick. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Mar 19, 2019 at 22:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Ron Beyer Right, but that would probably be one of the cases I'm not looking for. E.g. I believe I've heard that during certain angles of attack on certain combat aircraft, it is possible for the engines to flameout. $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2019 at 0:09

1 Answer 1


You might be counting this as FOD, but I'm going to go with water. That is, more rain volume than the engine can handle. It's the reason you select continuous ignition while in moderate to heavy rain because the chance of flameout is quite high.

Next in line would be flow disturbances at very high altitude, that are normally tolerable at low altitude. Airliners that have gotten into high altitude stall incidents can flame out one or more, especially airplanes with tail mounted engines that are in the wing's down wash.

On some airplanes the stall protection system will activate continuous ignition automatically when you are close to or at stick shaker. Modern FADEC engines usually have an auto-relight function built in and have to demonstrate auto-relight capability for certification.

Fighters like the 262 and other first generation engines had a fuel control system that was basically a needle valve connected to the thrust lever. The pilot's eyes and brain was the real fuel control and the gauges had to be monitored carefully when making power changes.

In the early 50s hydro pneumatic fuel controllers allowed "slam acceleration" without flaming out, but engines were still sensitive to flow disruptions. Then variable guide vanes came along to manage the flow through the axial compressor to control blade angle of attack, and flame outs due to flow disruptions only occurred with more extreme conditions.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not the downvoter so I'm curious: is the downvote because there's a mistake in this answer? Let us know! $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2019 at 0:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't see a downvote... $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Mar 20, 2019 at 0:53
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Damn I must be too used to Reddit where all comments are +1 initially. Anyway, here's yours! $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2019 at 0:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .