Long haul twin engine versus three, four engine airliners.

Member for

10 years 3 months

Posts: 2,536

I would like to know how people feel about flying long haul, especially across oceans, in twin engined aircraft.
Although it does not particularly bother me, as I have to accept the aircraft type being used, I sometimes wonder
what would happen, what's the aircraft's survivability, having to fly to the next available airport on a single engine?
When flying home from Canada to the UK it appeared I would be some 500nm from the nearest airfield if a failure happened at the halfway mark?

Would you prefer to fly in a 4 engined aircraft? Personally I would as 3 out of 4 sounds better to me than just 1.

Original post
Profile picture for user Matt-100

Member for

7 years 4 months

Posts: 569

I'm no pilot, but I do recall reading something about ETOPS. Perhaps someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't it state that before an aircraft can fly any commercial route between two airports it must be able to fly on one engine between any two airports along the flight plan in the cruise. So if you're in a 777 and one of the engines is cut half way across the Atlantic, it can still fly all the way to Gander.

EDIT: "There are different levels of ETOPS certification, each allowing aircraft to fly on routes that are a certain amount of flying time away from the nearest suitable airport. For example, if an aircraft is certified for 180 minutes, it is permitted to fly any route, as long as it is always within 180 minutes flying time to the nearest suitable airport. ETOPS operation has no direct correlation to water or distance over water. It refers to single-engine flight times between diversion airfields, regardless as to whether such fields are separated by water or land."
Source; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ETOPS

Member for

11 years 8 months

Posts: 1,059

I wouldn't worry about the number of engines on a modern jet. Engines are now very reliable and, as has already been stated, a B777, for example, can do quite a bit on just one engine.

That said, AF447 crashed in the middle of the Atlantic four years ago (A330) but the engines had nothing to do with it.

Finally, three-engined airliners are long gone as front-line long-haul transports apart from a few KLM MD-11s.

Profile picture for user Hand87_5

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19 years 11 months

Posts: 4,333

Finally, three-engined airliners are long gone as front-line long-haul transports apart from a few KLM MD-11s.

Yep .... unfortunately

Profile picture for user TR1

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9 years 2 months

Posts: 9,579

More engines, more chances for something to go wrong D:

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11 years 6 months

Posts: 652

There are still some routes where four engine is require but most of the 4 engine fleets would be retired overnight if it were possible

Airliner takes time to build and they of course have to be paid for but a lot of the fours are being replaced as soon as they can

In the future there will just be relatively small fleets of four engined

As to the KLM retirement of the MD-11...well over due