A flameout refers to the failure of a jet engine caused by the extinction of the flame in the combustion chamber. It can be caused by a number of factors, including fuel exhaustion; compressor stall; insufficient oxygen supply; engine ingestion of foreign substances (such as birds, hail or even volcanic ash); severe inclement weather; mechanical failure; and other factors.

Flameouts occur most frequently when the engine is at an intermediate or low power setting (such as during the cruise and descent phases of flight). Most of the time, they are recovered from uneventfully.

To recover from a flameout, the pilot should ensure the engine's fuel supply has been restored and then simply perform an engine restart as detailed in the aircraft's Flight Operations Manual.

Early jet engines, such as Junkers Jumo 004 used in early German jets, such as the Messerschmitt Me 262, were at relatively high risk of flameout. Fast acceleration or inappropriate throttle settings could impoverish the fuel/air mixture causing a flameout. If this happened at low altitude it would often lead to the total loss of the aircraft.

However, modern jets are engineered to a higher degree of technical quality and are controlled by systems (FADEC) that constantly fine-tune their performance; as such flameouts are not such a risk as they were in the early days of jet-powered aviation.

Notable incidents of flameout

In 1982, British Airways Flight 9 suffered flameouts in all four of its engines after flying through a cloud of pyroclastic material thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung. The pilots were eventually able to restart three of the engines and make a safe landing.

In 2004, Pinnacle Airlines Flight 3701 suffered flameouts in both of its two engines after flying too slowly at its maximum altitude. The pilots were unable to restart the engines, and the CRJ crashed near Jefferson City, Missouri.


In the movie and novel "The Bridges at Toko-Ri", Lt. Brubaker's jet suffers a flameout caused by lack of fuel while returning to his aircraft carrier from a mission. Brubaker (William Holden) is forced to ditch his plane in the icy Sea of Japan; this plot point later becomes significant when Brubaker's replacement jet is damaged on a subsequent mission.

In the film "Top Gun", a flameout and flat spin is the cause for the crash of Tom Cruise's character's aircraft during a mock dogfight. The engine flameouts in the movie were simulated by turning off the stunt aircraft's afterburners.

Also, in the film "Air Force One", a series of flameouts occur: before the evacuation, engine 1 is the first to flame out; as a badly injured man is seen leaving the plane, engine number 3 appears to have gone down; and as the president is shown on board the plane, number 2 engine flames out (the last to go).

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • flameout — [flām′out΄] n. ☆ 1. the stopping of combustion in a jet engine as a result of some abnormal flight condition 2. a sudden and complete, usually conspicuous, failure * * * flame·out (flāmʹout ) n. 1. Failure of a jet aircraft engine, especially in… …   Universalium

  • flameout — [flām′out΄] n. ☆ 1. the stopping of combustion in a jet engine as a result of some abnormal flight condition 2. a sudden and complete, usually conspicuous, failure …   English World dictionary

  • Flameout — Ein Flammabriss ist das Erlöschen der Verbrennung in den Brennkammern bei Strahltriebwerken und Propellerturbinen als Folge eines technischen Problems. Zum Teil wird hierfür auch im Deutschen die englische Bezeichnung flameout verwendet. Ursachen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • flameout — noun Date: 1950 1. the unintentional cessation of operation of a jet airplane engine 2. a sudden downfall, failure, or cessation 3. a person whose successful career ends abruptly …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • flameout — noun a) The act of flaming out or burning out; extinguishing. The company was one of Silicon Valleys more famous dot com flameouts. b) The act of quitting or failing, especially due to overwork or in a dramatic manner …   Wiktionary

  • Flameout — Flame out auch: Flame|out 〈[flɛımaʊt] m. 6; bei Flugzeugen〉 Ausfall eines Triebwerks infolge Treibstoffmangels [<engl. flame „flammen, glühen“ + out „aus“] …   Universal-Lexikon

  • flameout — n. failure of a jet engine …   English contemporary dictionary

  • flameout — An emergency condition in the operation of a gas turbine engine in which the flame is extinguished unintentionally for any reason, except fuel starvation, resulting in the loss of engine power …   Aviation dictionary

  • flameout — noun 1》 an instance of the flame in the combustion chamber of a jet engine being extinguished, with a resultant loss of power. 2》 informal, chiefly N. Amer. a conspicuous failure …   English new terms dictionary

  • flameout — I. ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ noun ( s) Etymology: flame (II) + out : the cessation of operation of a jet aircraft engine (as through improper combustion or exhaustion of the fuel supply) called also blowout II …   Useful english dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.