Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Etop Certification  
User currently offlineLahaina From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 261 posts, RR: 0
Posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3559 times:

Can someone please educate me on etop certification? What does it consist of and why is it expensive?

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineAFa340-300E From France, joined May 1999, 2084 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3487 times:


ETOPS certification requires an airline to operate say the 777 on non-ETOPS routes for some time if they have absolutely no ETOPS experience.

This forces an airline to operate large aircraft on short sectors, and they're not able to replace their fleet at that time.

Because a great part of the ETOPS concept is based on the maintenance improvements and redundancy, it's necessary to redefine the whole organization of the maintenance departement that will have to deal with ETOPS-to-be-rated aircraft.

Aircraft Manufacturer
To save ETOPS-rated airlines this usual period of increase in terms of minutes, Boeing has undertaken large and expensive tests with three 777s of each powerplant type (GE90, PW4000 and Trent 800). This was of course more expensive and needed time.

Hope this gives you an idea.

Best regards,
Alain Mengus

User currently offlineLahaina From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 3477 times:

Please clarify me if I am wrong. Based on what you wrote, I am under the impressions that if an airliner has never flown a particular type of twin inject jet, then it will take time for it to achieve ETOP certification. For example, Hawaiian only flies DC-10 on their transpacific routes. When they retire their DC-10s and replaces them with 767-300 ERs, then is it correct to say that they cannot be certified for ETOP flights until they have flown 767s for a certain amount of time in accordance with FAA regulations. What is this minimum of flying time they must achieve? Secondly, what is the difference between the maintenance procedures of a 767 non-etop vs 767 etop?

User currently offlineJt8djet From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 214 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3469 times:

When it comes to maintenance procedures, we mechanics have to follow the airlines specific etops manual that is approved by the FAA.
We generally are not allowed to perform dual system maintenance on a etops critical system. For example, oil filter changes. Maintenance planning will have us change only one of the main oil filters at a time. They will not have them both changed at the same maint visit. If for some reason we need to do the same task on both engines, the aircraft will need a verification flight before it can fly etops.

User currently offlineJim From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 455 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3456 times:

JT8DJET has just hit some of the very basics. Every point on the entire operation (not just the maintenance program) must be proven to the FAA. We at DAL have just completed the 'Proving Runs' for the FAA for the new 764s.

We were required to fly many hours of pilot trainers so that the flight crews had proficiency with the aircraft.

The mechanics were required to pass an 80hr initial airframe / systems / avionics course AND a 24hr On-Job-Training class before they are allowed to work on the 400.

The FAA sent representatives with the aircraft on a non-revenue flight. The route was ATL-MIA-LAX-OGG-HNL-ATL. At each stop and enroute, the FAA gave out simulated problems to 'test' DALs procedures. Everything from training records to the manuals was looked at. Flight attendants were given in-flight emergencies to react to. It was a very intense 4 days. All of this even though DAL has been flying -300ERs since they came out in the mid 80's!

(We ARE just a little curious how CO managed to enter revenue service with the -400 before us when they have never flown 767s at all. BUT WE'RE NOT BITTER ABOUT IT NOPE NOT US NOPE NOT AT ALL)

Hope this explains a little more what is involved. If you have specific questions, drop me an email.  


User currently offlineAFa340-300E From France, joined May 1999, 2084 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3446 times:


You got it Lahaina. But the minimum is still the 60-minute rule for a non-ETOPS certified aircraft.
Also you can fly for hours over the ocean without having to be ETOPS-certified, as long as you're 60 minutes or less far from the next airport.

Also, the MEL (Minimum Equipment List) is not so fexible for an ETOPS flight. Also the MEL can rule the ETOPS time; if a pilot sees that some points are not ok for ETOPS 180, he can still take-off for an ETOPS 120 flight for example (if everything is ok for ETOPS 120).

Best regards,
Alain Mengus

User currently offlineGunpowder From Trinidad and Tobago, joined Sep 2000, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3433 times:

To put Etops in a nutshell Lahaina, it is a set of rules and procedures set up by the Civil Aviation Authorities of many countries to allow twin engined aircraft to fly more than 60 minutes away from an airport where a landing can be made in the event of loss of an engine.

As you will realise 3 hours (or more) on one engine over a hostile environment is something no pilot relishes.

So everything that can be thought of is scrutinised to reduce the chances of engine or systems failures that would jeopardise the safety of flight.

Apart from engines, certain aircraft systems that would be affected by engine failure are deemed essential and redundancy is improved.

Maintenance procedures are carefully devised to eliminate any predictable errors or failures. ( to prevent the same man working on left and right systems for instance.)

MEL is reduced to virtually zero.

Parts are tracked and positively located so that cross contamination and batch failures can be avoided.
Parts and systems reliabilty are monitored continuously. Any trend that shows deterioration will reduce or remove etops approvals.

Operational procedures are put in place so that planners and flight crews can minimise risk exposure. (Isolated enroute alternates that go down unexpectedly for instance)

Before a departure on an etops sector, two engineers must inspect, independently, each side of the aircraft.
Etc, Etc., Etc.

As you can see the documentation and compliance procedures are quite onerous, but some of the effort is repaid in increased reliability.

User currently offlineLahaina From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 3420 times:

Thank you so much for the information that you have kindly provided. Perhaps you can answer this question as well--why are trijets no longer being manufactured? Although engines are very reliable these days, can a plane such as the 767 and 777 be able to fly with one engine, fully loaded, between the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast, or even to Japan, or Guam, for 3 hours? I have heard some pilots at Hawaiian say with two engines, you fly or sink. How true is this statement? Your comments would be greatly appreciated.

Also, the airbus 330/340 have the same frame but differ in the number of engines. Why doesn't Boeing built as new plane with the same frame as the 777 but supply the aircraft with either three or four engines? Perhaps you can tell me what Boeing's position is on this? Does Boeing have a internet address where I can e-mail them this questions?

User currently offlineGunpowder From Trinidad and Tobago, joined Sep 2000, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 3414 times:

Sure the big twins can fly for three (or more) hours on one engine, it is just that three hours is a long time to sit and ponder the odds of the last remaining engine quitting.
Economics is what drives the trend to two engines over long distances.
There was a rumour that Boeing was looking at a third engine on the 777, but have not heard it recently. Probably too much of a redesign.(=expensive)
Ah well, it was a nice rumour.

User currently offlineJim From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 455 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 3397 times:

Well, GUNPOWDER gave basically the same answer I have: $$$$$$.

There is a whole scale of economics built into aircraft equipment that must be looked at whenever a decision on design is considered.

A 3rd engine will cost the operating airline much more than the cost of the engine alone. Maintenance costs of the engines are raised 33%, but there are other costs to consider.

The pilots are paid more to operate the third engine, which over the life of the aircraft can cost many times the engines worth.

The aircraft would have to carry up to 33% more fuel. That means less pax and less cargo, which means less revenue.

You can see that by looking at the ' $ big picture', an ETOPS aircraft is a better choice than a tri-jet. And since the start of ETOPS, the reliability factor has only improved. The new FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control--Fly by wire) engines and other computerized equipment are really much more efficient and generally better than an L10 or DC10. In-Flight-Shutdowns (IFS) in the worldwide 767-ER fleet are almost a non event. Not true with the Tritannic!

As to Boeing's plans, well, I have seen a photo of a wind-tunnel model labled '767-300' which had a rear-mounted engine (a la L1011) but obviously, nothing came of that. I don't have an email address, but I'm sure their website would provide one.

Please feel free to email me at the address in my bio if you have other questions!


User currently offlineAdam84 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 1400 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 3394 times:

I have a question also, if cost for a trijet is 33% more, then wouldnt that be more economical than a quadjet? Like since trijets have been replaced by twinjets, could it be possible that the manufacturers design a trijet to replace the quadjets?

User currently offlineJim From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 455 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (15 years 2 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 3392 times:

I'm not saying that it's not possible, just that decisions have to be made which will effect the design. UAL, BA, CO and many others feel that it is within their budget to fly 747s, LH and others like the A340. DAL on the other hand would rather not pay additional monies for the 4th (and now 3rd) engine, as well as the other costs I've mentioned.

There is a widely circulated belief at airlines that Asian peoples prefer the quad jet and will choose a 747 over any other type. I don't know if its true, and I am not trying to advance some racist agenda, BUT look at the aircraft flying US to Japan and Korea, and tell me how many are 747s or A 340s? Those airlines servicing the majority of customers in those markets (not DAL) are flying quad-jets.

If DAL decides to really grow on its own in Asia, instead of relying on KAL, DAL may have to obtain 747s. Otherwise, our management and marketing have decided that the parasite costs of having more than 2 engines are not worth it.


Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Police Certification May Ground Flights At JAC posted Tue Sep 30 2008 06:33:21 by FlyASAGuy2005
FAA Rushed Certification Of Light Jet posted Wed Sep 17 2008 10:49:24 by Detroitflyer
OpenSkies Got Their DOT Certification Today May 16 posted Fri May 16 2008 07:55:10 by CuriousFlyer
GEnx-1B Engine Receives FAA Certification posted Thu Apr 3 2008 06:24:04 by Stitch
GEnx Certification Issues? posted Thu Feb 21 2008 00:43:07 by Sirtoby
787 Certification One-Third Complete. posted Fri Feb 1 2008 00:49:34 by WINGS
A380 Pilot Certification posted Mon Sep 24 2007 05:39:52 by 797
RR Trent 1000 Gains Certification posted Tue Aug 7 2007 12:42:41 by BDRules
ANA Faces 787 Etops Certification Delay posted Tue Jul 10 2007 17:46:00 by Laxintl
E170 Receives Steep Approach Certification posted Mon Jun 18 2007 17:54:30 by Helvknight