Different Types of Aircraft Engines

Over the years, major strides have been made in the aviation industry in regard to technology. In particular, aircraft engines have seen improvements in terms of design, functionality, and performance. More recently, engines have been diversified to suit a wide range of airframes and mechanical systems. With this in mind, this blog will cover aircraft engine types and the models they serve.

Single-Engine Planes vs. Multi-Engine Planes

Single-engine and multi-engine aircraft have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, some of which we will outline in this section.

To begin, single-engine planes are often the go-to choice over their counterparts for their low price points and low operating costs. In some cases, single-engine aircraft utilize high performance engines that offer optimal flight characteristics and higher operating speeds. With regard to performance, nothing compares to multi-engine planes, allowing pilots to accelerate more rapidly and achieve faster speeds.

The main advantages of multi-engine planes include their increased safety and security. As they are equipped with a second engine, pilots can navigate emergency landings with ease when one engine fails. Furthermore, multi-engine aircraft are typically designed with multiple starter generators as well as other backup components which offer additional safety measures in the event of failure.

However, multi-engine aircraft are more likely to be involved in loss-of-control incidents as a result of asymmetric thrust. Asymmetric thrust is especially problematic when the plane is flying at a low altitude and exerting a high-power output during takeoff. Another drawback of multi-engine planes includes their lack of visibility and complex fuel systems. Though their backup components offer safety through redundancy, many single-engine aircraft have similar features like aircraft alternators and glass-panel avionics.

Types of Propeller Engines

Serving as one of the original engine types, aircraft used to exclusively employ internal combustion engines that turned affixed propellers to generate thrust. Today, general aviation and private aircraft still utilize internal combustion piston engines and aircraft propellers.

In general, airplane piston engines take in air from the surrounding environment and mix it with fuel. This mixture is combusted to produce heated exhaust gas that moves a piston that is attached to the crankshaft which turns the propellers. While piston propeller engines are available in a variety of sizes, most large aircraft utilize some form of turbine engine. Smaller aircraft, on the other hand, can traverse the sky with smaller internal combustion piston engines. It is important to note that there are many propeller types, each of which vary based on purpose and function. Some of these include fixed-pitch, feathering, and reverse-pitch propellers.

Types of Turbine Engines

Similar to piston engines, turbine engines also create a fuel-air mixture for propulsive combustion. In contrast, the gas turbines within turbine engines generate continuous combustion to drive a compressor that increases air pressure to provide power. Generally, the air follows a predetermined path through the engine, and turbine engines are identified by the type of aircraft movement they produce. As such, turbine engines fall into one of four categories: turboprop, turbojet, turboshaft, and turbofan.

To begin, turboprop engines connect to the gearing system that sets the propellers in motion. Furthermore, the gearbox slows down its spinning prop shaft to drive the propellers. Turbojets, on the other hand, move through the air using the thrust from the gas streams they generate. One drawback of this type includes the fact that they require large amounts of fuel. Next, turboshaft engines are a type of engine that finds use in helicopters, and they turn a transmission to power the helicopter rotor system. Lastly, turbofan engines combine the best features of the turbojet and turboprop. More than that, turbofan engines produce significant thrust at low speeds and quiet operation.


If you find yourself in need of any of the aforementioned engine types, mechanical system components, or specialized tools for repair, rely on Veritable Aerospace. Veritable Aerospace is a premier distributor of board-level components, TSO parts, electromechanicals, and more. With over 2 billion ready-to-purchase items at your disposal, you are bound to find what you need with ease. Kickoff the procurement process and see how Veritable Aerospace can serve as your strategic sourcing partner.


October 29, 2021

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