While the piston engine has long served a variety of aircraft since the inception of powered flight, the rise of the gas turbine engine in the World War II era radically changed how we approach powered flight. Coming in numerous forms, gas turbine engines rely on the combustion of fuel-and-air mixtures to drive turbine blade assemblies and produce thrust for heavier-than-air flight. As compared to piston engines, the aircraft turbine engine generates a much larger amount of thrust and power, enabling aircraft to be manufactured in larger sizes, operate at higher altitudes, and much more. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the most common types of turbine engines, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your individual operations.
The turbojet engine is one of the most simplistic types in terms of design, and it is an assembly consisting of a compressor, combustion chamber, turbine section, and exhaust section. As the earliest form of turbine engine, the turbojet was developed prior to World War II, presenting high thrust through the combustion of fuel-and-air mixtures and optimal use of exhaust gasses which drive the turbine assembly.
The turboprop engine shares some similarities to piston powered aircraft, the most readily recognized being the presence of propellers that create propulsion. The propeller assemblies are attached to each engine present on a wing, and a reduction gear ensures optimal performance while traveling at a lower RPM. As turboprop engines provide high fuel efficiency and ample performance while traveling at slower speeds, they are commonly relied on by small, commuter, cargo, and agricultural aircraft alike. As propellers are limited in their efficiency as overall speed increases, they are not suitable for certain high-performance aircraft.
The turbofan engine is considered to be a balance between the turbojet and turboprop engine, utilizing the most favorable features of each. For its general design, the turbofan engine features a secondary flow of air that moves around the combustion chamber, and this flow is utilized to create more thrust. As the turbofan engine is considered to be the most modern variation of turbine engine, it is commonly used on a number of fighter aircraft and high-speed transportation planes. They are also common on numerous business jets as well, adding to their popularity.
While turbojets are the newest iteration of turbine engines, they can be further optimized with afterburners to bolster their performance and capabilities. With an afterburner placed in the core of the turbojet, energy from exhaust gasses can be further harnessed to increase thrust. As the afterburner is in operation, fuel will be injected directly into the stream of exhaust, causing immediate combustion. As a result, more thrust is generated. While afterburners will not create additional speed, they will increase the amount of fuel that is spent during a typical flight operation.
Whether you operate or plan to operate an aircraft with any turbine engine, it is important that you regularly conduct maintenance to maintain airworthiness and safety. At Civil Aviation 360, we provide countless top-quality items with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times for your benefit. If you happen to be facing a time constraint or AOG situation, rest easy knowing that we can fulfill your needs quickly and easily with our robust supply chain network stretching across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
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