Wednesday, November 14, 2007


A flameout is a condition in the operation of a gas turbine engine in which the fire in the engine unintentionally goes out. If the rich limit of the fuel/air ratio is exceeded in the combustion chamber, the flame will blow out. This condition is often referred to as a rich flameout. It generally results from very fast engine acceleration, where an overly rich mixture causes the fuel temperature to drop below the combustion temperature. It also may be caused by insufficient airflow to support combustion.

Another, more common flameout occurrence is due to low fuel pressure and low engine speed, which typically are associated with high-altitude flight. This situation also may occur with the engine throttled back during a descent, which can set up the lean-condition flameout. A weak mixture can easily cause the flame to die out, even with a normal airflow through the engine.

Any interruption of the fuel supply also can result in a flameout. This may be due to prolonged unusual attitudes, a malfunctioning fuel control system, turbulence, icing or running out of fuel.

Symptoms of a flameout normally are the same as those following an engine failure. If the flameout is due to a transitory condition, such as an imbalance between fuel flow and engine speed, an airstart may be attempted once the condition is corrected. In any case, pilots must follow the applicable emergency procedures outlined in the AFM or POH. Generally, these procedures contain recommendations concerning altitude and airspeed where the airstart is most likely to be successful.

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