The Issue of Engine Reliability in the Aeronautical Industry
Engine reliability is understandably of utmost concern in the aeronautical industry. Of course, if the engines of a plane should fail during its flight, tragedy is almost always the foreseen outcome. Taking into consideration that the safety of the crew and the passengers are considered to be among the top most priorities, airline companies utilize different methods for checking their planes and assuring that failure should not occur (Bibel, 2007). However, in reality, numerous plane crash incidents are caused by engine failure.
One of the most recent air crash incidents that occurred due to engine failure was commonly known as the the BA Heathrow crash. Specifically, the air crash investigators that worked on the incident took notice of the probability that the air crash was caused by engine malfunction due to the accumulation of ice in the fuel oil heat exchanger of the engine (Millward, 2009). In this sense, it becomes apparent that the problem with engine failures in terms of aircrafts is much more complex than commonly thought. The problem and apparent risk of engine failure is interconnected with the reliability of the other components of the plane.
In relation to the possible problems which might lead to engine failures during flight, it is important to note such problems aside from those already mentioned. The occurrence of fire, metal fatigue due to heightened vibration, and improper readings are among the known reasons for engine failure (Bibel, 2007).
Given such a variety of potential sources of risk, it is rather assuring to know that investigators, air transportation companies, and aircraft manufacturers work closely to develop improvements, such as in the aircraft engine design, for better reliability (Millward, 2009). The evident problem though with issues of engine reliability and other aircraft components is that most of the time, disastrous events occur first before flaws in reliability are completely identified, understood, and resolved.
Bibel, G. (2007). Beyond the Black Box: The Forensics of Airplane Crashes. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press.
Millward, D. (2009, March 13). Engine Failure Blamed for BA Heathrow Crash Landing could be Repeated, Warn Investigators. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved July 30, 2009, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/4983757/Engine-failure-blamed-for-BA-Heathrow-crash-landing-could-be-repeated-warn-investigators.html.