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What is the procedure after engine failure at cruise?

Thu Jun 18, 2020 10:11 pm

After engine failure the aeroplane is unable to maintain its cruising altitude. What is the procedure which should be followed?

Is it Drift Down Procedure or just Emergency Descent Procedure
Last edited by atcsundevil on Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is the procedure after engine failure at cruise?

Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:56 pm

Depending on the situation. Airbus defines three strategies, standard, obstacle and fixed speed. If there is an issue with terrain clearance obstacle strategy will be used, which is descend at green dot speed to minimize the rate of descend and to be able to archive the highest possible level of altitude. Fixed Speed strategy is mostly used for ETOPS, as the diversion distance is defined based on a specific speed. Standard strategy is used in all other cases, with a defined speed according to aircraft type (for A320 it is .78/300kts). However there is no prohibition against using an other strategy for operational reasons - for example, I would initially use obstacle strategy in busy European airspace to give the controller more time to clean up the airspace below and then revert to standard strategy depending on the situation.
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Re: What is the procedure after engine failure at cruise?

Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:15 am

If it’s simple engine failure, there’s no reason to do any emergency descent. ED is for loss of pressurization, not OEI. First, set the thrust where the procedure requires, something like maximum continuous allow the Mach to slow toward drift down while notifying ATC. You might get a descent clearance and routing to your intended destination. Over the ocean, you might be told to execute the contingency procedure including drift down while maintaining lateral separation. In a radar environment, nothing other than a normal-ish descent.
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Re: What is the procedure after engine failure at cruise?

Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:33 am

We always use the obstacle strategy initially for the drift down. We can revise strategy later to standard or fixed speed as appropriate.

On Airbus:
- Both thrust levers to MCT.
- Disengage autothrust so the thrust stays at MCT and doesn't roll back during the descent.
- As appropriate, turn away from airway as per local regs.
- Check if driftdown is needed on MCDU/MFD. In a twin in the cruise, it will almost always be needed.
- Notify ATC
- Set speed to green dot (best glide) and pull for selected speed.
- Set driftdown altitude and pull for open descent.
- Once established in the descent, perform ECAM actions related to the failure.

As mentioned you wouldn't do emergency descent for several reasons. Emergency descent increases the risk of getting a TCAS warning, plus you might erroneously go all the way down to 10000 feet or MSA instead of the max engine out altitude.
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