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5 Engine Start Malfunctions You'll Learn About Before Flying Jets

These are the most common start malfunctions you'll experience when flying turbine powered airplanes.

1) Hot Start

If the engine experiences unusual difficulty accelerating during start, a hot start may occur. There won't be enough airflow to cool the initial combustion of fuel within the engine. Acceptable temperature and time limits are published within individual aircraft flight manuals to prevent engine damage.

2) No Starter Cutout

According to the FAA, a no starter cutout condition exists when the start selector remains in the start position or the engine start valve is open when commanded closed. Since the starter is intended only to operate at low speeds for a few minutes at a time, the starter may fail completely (burst) and cause further engine damage if the starter does not cut out.

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3) Tailpipe Fire

One of the most alarming events for passengers, flight attendants, ground personnel and even air traffic control (ATC) to witness is a tailpipe fire. According to the FAA, fuel may puddle in the turbine casings and exhaust during start-up or shutdown, and then ignite. This can result in a highly-visible jet of flame out of the back of the engine, which may be tens of feet long.

There may be no indication of an anomaly to the flight crew until the cabin crew, ground crew, or control tower draws attention to the problem. They are likely to describe it as an "Engine Fire," but a tailpipe fire will NOT result in a fire warning on the flight deck.

4) No Light-Off

A no light-off is just what you'd think. When fuel flow is introduced and engine light-off has not occurred in a proper timeframe, fuel may begin building up in the engine. If light-off DOES occur, this could result in a damaging fire or hot start.

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5) N2 Stagnation (Hung Start)

A hung start occurs when the engine lights off normally but doesn't accelerate to idle RPM. This is usually the result of insufficient power to the engine from the starter.

Live from the Flight Deck

Each faulty start is considered an emergency and usually requires immediate shutdown of the engine. Refer to your individual aircraft flight manual for specific procedures.

Jet engines are usually a lot easier to start than a prop. And the process is pretty simple. It comes down to lots of air under pressure, some fuel, and boom, you're lit. The tough part is getting enough compressed air. Click here to learn more.

Have you ever experienced a faulty start? Tell us in the comments below.

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