Why is it that it is ….?

The Document contains the answer of the following questions:

1. Can aircraft fly with One engine ?

2. What if all the engines of an aircraft fails in flight ?

3. Why Black Box is Orange in colour ?

4. What happens when lighting strikes aircraft in flight ?

5. Why do aircrafts store Fuel in the Wings ?

1. Can aircraft fly with One engine ?

Yes it can. A twin-engine aircraft can fly perfectly on only one engine. In fact, it can even continue the take-off and then safely land with just one engine! Losing an engine in flight is not in general particularly a serious problem and the pilots are given extensive training to deal with such a situation. With 50% of the aircraft’s power no longer available it will not be able to maintain its cruise altitude. If the aircraft is in the cruise at the time of the failure (which is statistically most likely), a descent will need to be quickly initiated to an intermediate altitude which can be maintained by the remaining engine (typically between 15,000ft – 25,000ft for most aircraft, depending on weight). But it is not advisable to continue flight if one of the engines fail so if by chance an engine goes off, the aircraft has to land at the nearest possible runway and an alert message is circulated to all nearby airports.

2. What if all the engines of an aircraft fails in flight ?

First of all, the chances of multiple engines on a plane failing in the same flight are incredibly small. Most engine problems are rare to begin with, and aren’t a systemic problem, but rather an acute issue in a single engine (i.e., a fuel leak or a bird flying into the propellers). However, if all the engines do fail, it is definitely an emergency situation, yet still not one that is impossible to overcome.

The same forces that allow an airplane to fly will allow an airplane to glide without additional power. The lack of forward thrust will have to be replaced by losing altitude (as a form of energy), but this doesn’t mean falling like a rock out of the sky. By adjusting the wings and rudders, a commercial plane can have a lift to drag ratio of 10:1, which means that for every ten miles the plane “glides” forward, it will lose 1 mile in altitude. In the case of an average commercial flight at 30,000 feet (approx. 5 miles), the plane could glide for 50 miles without any engine power. The plane will still be able to turn left and right, and remain steady, but will no longer be able to pull up or increase in altitude.

In the extremely unlikely event of this happening, the pilot can hopefully find a runway in the glide range, or at the very least, a relatively even stretch of land or body of water. This was the situation for the miraculous landing of US Airways Flight 1549 back in 2009, when both engines failed after the plane encountered a flock of geese. One can also watch movie “SULLY”. As stated before, this type of dual engine failure is incredibly rare, perhaps only happening once per decade somewhere in the world.

Want to learn more about aircraft engines click the link below:-

3. Why Black Box is Orange in colour ?

Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) are also known by the misnomer black box which are used to record all pilot to co-pilot and ATC to pilot communication—they are, in fact, painted bright orange in color to aid in their recovery after accidents. Together, the FDR and CVR objectively document the aircraft’s flight history, which may assist in any later investigation.

So where did the term black box originate from?

The term “black box” was a World War II British phrase, originating with the development of radio, radar, and electronic navigational aids in British and Allied combat aircraft. These often-secret electronic devices were literally encased in non-reflective black boxes or housings, hence the name “black box”.

4. What happens when lighting strikes aircraft in flight ?

The last confirmed commercial plane crash in the U.S. directly attributed to lightning occurred in 1967, when lightning caused a catastrophic fuel tank explosion. Although passengers and crew may see a flash and hear a loud noise if lightning strikes their plane, nothing serious should happen because of the careful lightning protection engineered into the aircraft and its sensitive components. 

Static Dischargers, commonly known as static wicks or static discharge wicks, are installed on the trailing edges of aircraft, including (electrically grounded) ailerons, elevators, rudder, wing, horizontal and vertical stabilizer tips. So while flying through lighting conditions the aircraft accumulates charge over the outer skin of the structure, when the aircraft charge is great enough, it discharges into the surrounding air, this help in maintaining charge balance on the aircraft body. This outer skin is made thick surrounding the fuel tanks.

So now it’s safe enough to fly even when there are static discharges but on ground it’s is not advisable to stand in the vicinity on an aircraft during these conditions as aircraft body is highly conductive and can attract static discharge towards itself.

5. Why do aircrafts store Fuel in the Wings ?

Reason 1: Weight and Balance – In a case when the centre of gravity of an aircraft is disturbed from it’s original position then the fuel can be shifted in the desired wing to balance the centre of gravity.

Reason 2: Storage – A flight will be profitable if it is able to carry as much possible payload for which it should have sufficient storage space in the cabin or in the fuselage. So keeping this in mind fuel is stored in the wings and cargo, mail, baggage and passenger in the fuselage. Some aircrafts also have a fuel tanks for fuel storage at the centre bottom of the fuselage for long distance operations.

Reason 3: Structural Stability of wings – A wing is made so that it can be flexible as it has to take upward and downward force of different magnitudes at different altitudes. Thus to help wings bear the varied forces fuel is stored in the aircraft wings in the Wings is the best solution as it provides enough weight to the wings during lift acting upwards and the wings can be flexible up to certain extent too as it’s not completely solid.

Loving it? Stay with us for the part 3 of Facts and Myths. Do not forget to hit the like button. Also shoot down such questions in the comment section that are still unanswered, we will answer them in the next part of this article.

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