Jet engines enable the aircraft to move forward with a thrust force enabling the speed to increase beyond a point where the wings start generating Lift and keep the aircraft a float. There are various different types of jet engines out there however the basic principle on how they work remains the same. The fan blades at the front of the engines spin fast enough to suck in large amount of air. This air goes through a compressor stage which comprises of several blades attached to a shaft. The compressor increases the pressure of this air mass. Later on this compressed air is sprayed with fuel and an electric spark ignites this mixture of fuel and air. The combustion process expands the gases and blasts it out through the nozzle at the rear side of the engine. This process cause the aircraft to thrust forward.
The hot air going through the nozzle passes through another stage of blades called the tribune. The turbine is connected to the same shaft as the compressor blades. Spinning of the turbine therefore allows the compressor to do the same. Some of the air is also bypassed in modern jet engines instead of being mixed with fuel for ignition and this allows for a more efficiency resulting in more thrust. This bypass process has made engines up to 70% more efficient in some engine types and a lot more quieter also. Less noise and more thrust for less fuel burn is no doubt a big winner for aviation and aircraft manufacturers.
Modern jet engines come supplied with several state of the art systems within. Some of these systems include:
- Anti ice system which uses warmer bleed air from the engines itself to prevent ice build up on the intake.
- FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control): In the older times, a flight engineer would control and monitor several engine sub systems and parameters for engine operation however now a clever computer manages all this for the Pilots.
- Fire Protection: Engines are equipped with fire sensors to allow the pilots to receive a warning in the flight deck. These engines are then also equipped with fire extinguishing agents that hopefully can suppress and eliminate the fire to protect the engine and aircraft.
- Reverse thrust system: to allows to reverse part of the airflow in the engines. This is sued to slow the aircraft down faster during the landing roll or in case of a rejected takeoff.
There are several other sensors installed throughout the engine that provide very useful information to the Pilots. Some of these include vibration levels, exhaust gas temperatures, Compressor and Turbine rotation levels, fuel flow, engine stall, etc.
With such vast information and technology, you can be assured even though a modern jet engine is extremely reliable, even in a rare case of malfunction, Pilots are trained and equipped to resolve the problem and make a safe landing with just one engine remaining.