To be able to answer these questions, we must first learn about jet engines. The term “jet engine” is commonly used as a generic name for many types of engines, including jet turbine engines, turbofan turbofan engines, turbofan turbofan engines, and turbofan engines straight line.
These engines all operate on the same basic principles, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages. All jet engines work by forcing air into a tube, where the air is compressed, mixed with fuel, ignited, and generated thrust.
The key to making a jet engine work is the compression of the incoming air. If not compressed, the air-fuel mixture will not burn and the engine cannot generate any thrust. Most members of the jet family use a compressor unit, consisting of rotating blades, that slows incoming air to create high pressure. This compressed air is then fed into the combustion chamber, where it is mixed with the fuel and ignited. When the high-pressure gases are exhausted, they are passed through a turbine section with more rotating blades. The combustible gases then continue to expand through the nozzle creating forward thrust.
As mentioned earlier, jet engines work by compressing incoming air, mixing it with fuel, igniting that mixture, and exhaling high-pressure gas to create thrust. The initial compression is done through a series of rotating vanes known as compressors. After the jet fuel is added through the fuel injection system, the mixture is ignited in the combustion chamber. Exhaust gases move through a series of other rotating blades called turbines that power the engine and finally through an injector.
This is a picture of the engine on the A321 after flying through a heavy freezing rain.
The biggest danger caused by rain, snow, ice or fog is engine fire. Although rain can affect jet engine function, it usually has no significant effect. Most storms produce light rain or snow or clouds, and small ice crystals won’t do much. In general, only very violent storms affect engine operation, and pilots often take detours to avoid such powerful storms.
However, the most difficult forms of rain to deal with are heavy hail, ice, and freezing rain. Heavy hail, which occurs only in very strong storms, is generally avoided because it will cause turbulence in flight, and the impact of hail can also damage engines or the fuselage.
Freezing rain is more troublesome, it forms ice on the motor inlet or the center of the motor shaft. As ice accumulates, blocks of ice can break off and enter the engine, damaging the propeller or disrupting airflow and combustion. And the fix is to set up a heating system that warms the surface where the ice is the most and prevents it from forming. The hubs of some engines are also covered with small rubber bands that vibrate as the ice begins to form causing the ice to melt before growing into large and dangerous clumps.
Although rain and snow are usually less dangerous or fire-causing in flight, there are cases where rain and frost can damage engines. In August 1987, an Air Europe Boeing 737 had to make an emergency landing in Greece because the rain and rain caused both the plane’s engines to explode.
Just nine months later in May 1988, a more serious incident occurred on TACA flight 110 from Belize to New Orleans. This 737 plane had to fly through a double storm. Heavy rain and hail caused serious damage to the engine. Crew members briefly tried to restart the engines and the pilot struggled to make a safe emergency landing.
In 2002, a Garuda Indonesia 737 had a similar engine problem on the island of Java. Like the previous cases, this flight also had to try to land in a big storm when both engines were having problems. The pilot was unable to restart the engines or approach the landing site, so the crew attempted to drop the plane into a nearby river. One flight attendant was killed and at least a dozen others were seriously injured in the crash.
However, the above examples are rare, engine failures caused by rainfall are infrequent and rain rarely threatens the safety of jet engines. A more serious problem that pilots have to worry about is the clouds of dust or ash created by volcanic eruptions.
More than 100 incidents of commercial aircraft encountering these clouds were recorded amid the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 and 2006. These clouds can travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers from the volcano and still cause damage when entering a jet engine. A British Airways Boeing 747 experienced a fire in all four engines while flying over volcanic ash in 1982. It fell from 37,000 ft (11,280 m) to 14,000 ft (4,270 m) over Thai Binh Ocean before the crew could restart the engines.