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

Why Are Some Aircraft Engines Mounted in Front of the Wings?

You may have wondered before, why many jet airliners have engines mounted at the front of and below their wings rather than behind them. While there are planes that have their engines placed on the back, wing-mounted engines are commonly used on commercial transport planes for several key reasons. The popular Boeing 737 for example, has two large turbine engines installed in pods at the front of its wings. In the following blog, we will be discussing the major benefits of wing-mounted engines along with some adverse maneuverability effects to keep in mind.

One of the simplest benefits to having engines installed below the wings is that they provide easy access for maintenance. Rather than needing steps and a platform to be reached, engines that are mounted below the wings can be worked on by engineers on the ground. Another benefit is that the wings are able to support much larger engines than the tail of an aircraft. As technology improves and engines become larger and more powerful, the best place for these engines has been on the underside of the wings. Consequently, it is also possible to fit more engines under the wing than at the back of the plane, similarly adding extra possibility for more powerful aircraft.

Another major benefit to wing-mounted engines is that the added weight on the wings helps minimize wing bending and prevent wing fluttering. Wing fluttering is a dangerous issue which occurs when the vibration of air around the plane’s wings causes them to twist and bounce in a fluttering motion which can potentially snap the wings from too much wear. Having engines oriented at the front and underside of the wings has been proven to decrease the bending of an airplane’s wings as they fly through the air. In addition, wings that are separated from the main body, or fuselage, of the aircraft help to keep passengers in the cabin more protected from engine fires in the case of malfunction. Lastly, by having the engines mounted below the wings, they create a natural sound barrier which lessens the overall noise of the engine heard from the cabin.

While there are many key benefits to the wing-mounted design, there are also some important effects on the overall maneuverability of an aircraft to consider. Firstly, whereas having the engines away from the body prevents some risk to passengers, it can also lead to spinning if one engine fails. This is because if one engine fails, the other will immediately turn the plane inward towards the direction of the malfunctioning engine. With this risk in mind, pilots must respond quickly in the case of single-engine failure to counteract the immediate turning that will occur. To help avoid spins, planes such as these generally have larger rudders which can work against the effect of a failed engine to keep the airplane stable. Another factor to keep in mind is that because the engines are located underneath the plane’s center of gravity, they will affect pitch when initially taking off. To combat this, pilots must learn to compensate for the raised pitch reaction that will occur.

In conclusion, having the engines mounted below the wings of an airplane helps minimize the risk of certain dangers such as wing fluttering and engine fire and allow for more powerful aircraft. For these reasons, they are often used in large passenger planes that require large, heavy engines to propel them forward. However, certain adverse effects should be kept in mind as well when operating aircraft with this design. Another way to guarantee the safety of passengers and crew is to find a reliable source for all your aircraft parts needs. For this and more, Aircraft Parts Supplier can be your strategic sourcing partner. With an inventory of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts, we are well-equipped to find what you need, all with time and cost savings. Start the purchasing process with us today to see all that we can do to simplify the procurement process as your premium sourcing partner.


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