AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

Common Turbine Engine Malfunctions and Basic Troubleshooting

One of the most notable advancements was the debut of turbine-powered engines, those of which have allowed aircraft to be heavier, fly higher, and fly farther. With continued advancements over the years, turbine engines have solidified themselves as a dependable choice for many aviation applications. Nevertheless, turbine engines can still face various issues during standard operations, such as starting malfunctions, that prevent the initiation of operations. In this blog, we will discuss the most common start malfunctions that turbine-powered aircraft may face, allowing you to be better prepared for such potential instances.

One common starting issue is the hot start, and this can be noticed when the engine is having difficulty accelerating. Generally, hot starts are a result of low airflow entering the engine during initial combustion, leading to temperatures that exceed standard operational ranges. To prevent hot starts, one should always ensure that proper fuel scheduling and engine acceleration is carried out.

Another common starting issue involves the failure of the starter to cut out, meaning that the start selector either stays within its start position or the engine start valve is stuck open when it is directed to close. The starter is only used for a short amount of time during initial operations before cutting out, so having any element stuck runs the risk of starter failure. As the starter may burst when such conditions occur, there is a chance of engine damage.

In the instance that fuel is allowed to build up within turbine casings and exhaust sections during operations, it can lead to a very alarming start issue known as a tailpipe fire. Like one would imagine, this issue is when the collected fuel within various sections is ignited by the engine starting, causing a visible stream of flames to extend out from the back of the engine. While one may conflate such a sight with an engine fire control, it is important to note that the two are different, and that flight crew members may not receive any indication of the issue unless it is visibility witnessed.

When a “no light-off” issue occurs, one will notice that the engine light-off does not occur within the standard timeframe after fuel flow has been introduced. No light-off issues can be a major concern as it may lead to a buildup of fuel within the engine. As such, there is a chance that a damaging fire or hot start may occur.

The last major issue is known as a hung start, and it occurs when the engine lights turn off, but the idle RPM is not attained through acceleration. Generally, hung-starts are caused by insufficient power being provided to the engine from the starter, limiting the amount of acceleration that can occur. When a hung start occurs, one should be sure to shut down the engine as soon as possible so that an inspection can be carried out to remedy any potential issues before another attempt is made.

With a better understanding of the potential issues that may be faced when operating a turbine engine, one can further prevent a number of dangerous or damaging situations. If you happen to face a troubleshooting issue and find that you need to conduct a repair or replacement, let the experts at Emergent Aviation help you secure everything you require with highly competitive pricing and rapid lead times. Our inventory is replete with over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items, all of which are ready for purchase at any time. With our online RFQ services, requesting quotes for your comparisons is quick and easy, and we guarantee customized responses to requests within 15 minutes of receiving a completed form. 


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