Re: AF Triple Seven double Engine Trouble at Tenerife

Date:         06 Aug 98 23:22:50 
From:         Robin Peel <>
Organization: CPWD
References:   1 2
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Chris Hall wrote:
> Thomas, IMHO the risk of simultaneous double engine failure on any twin jet
> aircraft is very unlikely. Most jet engines will keep running and generating
> thrust even with some considerable damage as long as fuel is being squirted
> in.
> In EROPS operation it is not often that the aircraft is at 180 minutes from
> an airfield, often it is considerably less. Also, once one engine is shut
> down for any reason, then the crew will be VERY reluctant to shut the second
> one down whatever warnings come up.

I believe a Southern Airlines (?) DC-9 went down with major loss of life
following a double engine flameout in a thunderstorm, near Atlanta in
the 1970s (the story is in this month's AOPA Pilot magazine, I
believe).  However, it seems probable that all the engines of ANY
aeroplane would have failed in this circumstance.

Having personally flown in a full MD-82 on one engine into DCA, I can
tell you that it is safe, but uncomfortable (even though I feel quite
safe flying single engine GA aeroplanes - they glide a tad better than
an MD-80, and only need a small field to land).

Though engine failure of modern powerplants is rare, it does seem to
make common sense that if one fails, there may a significantly increased
the risk of the other failing (eg. in the Southern example above, or if
the fuel was contaminated, or if the FADEC malfunctioned...).
Or, as with the British Midland 737, incorrect diagnosis of the failed
engine (and shut down of the wrong one) could lead to an unintentional
loss of both engines.  If the British Midland flight had been a 727
instead of a 737, shut down of the wrong engine may have enabled the
aeroplane to reach the runway on the remaining one.

- Robin.

Robin A. Peel
Austin, Texas, USA