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What makes an airplane float on air?


Aircraft ENgine
Photo by Ahmed Muntasir from Pexels

Engines play a vital role in providing necessary thrust for an airplane to fly. We have listed different types of engines used in aircraft:


1. Piston engine or Reciprocating engine:


Piston Engine
Piston Engine | Image by Bob Williams from Pixabay

The piston engine is used in older aircraft to get thrust by a rotating propeller which is fixed in an engine. Reciprocating/piston engine is mostly used in small types of aircraft. It is also used for sports aircraft to do manoeuvring. But this type of engines are higher in weight and produces more vibration and noise which reduces aircraft efficiency.


2. Turboprop Engine:

turbo prop engine
Turbo Prop Engine | Free3d.com

Turboprop engines are turbine-based engines it drives with a propeller attached at the front of the engine. The turboprop is more efficient. This type of engines is used in larger planes to get longer flight time. The turboprop engine made evolution in aircraft engine to more power than piston engines. It can produce power by rotating propeller and also the turbine helps in producing the required power.


3. Turbofan engine:


Turbofan Engine

The turbofan engine has high speed and less rotating parts. A turbofan engine is designed for larger aircraft to carry heavy loads and also to fly long distance. It is also called a bypass engine. It produces less vibration and noise and hence is used majorly in all passenger aircraft. This engine based aircraft flies at 0.7 Mach number(250kmp).


4. Turbojet engine:


Turbo jet Engine
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

The turbojet engines are one of the fastest thrust producing engines used in aircraft. It also has less number of moving parts. The Turboprop engine is mostly used in fighter aircraft for combat uses. It flies at a speed of above Mach 1 (780kmph). This engine based aircraft are flying faster than the speed of sound.


5. Ramjet engine


Ramjet Engine
Ramjet Engine | Source : GrabCAD

Ramjet engines are the most powerful engines. This type of engine is used in Missiles also. The ramjet engine also does not have any moving parts inside the engine. It needs an external compressor to pressurize the atmospheric air. The ramjet engine based aircraft flies at Mach 3 (2300mph). The efficiency is less and it is made for lightweight aircraft.


6. Scramjet engine:


Scram Jet
ScramJet | Source : NASA

The scramjet engine replaces the ramjet and overcomes the drawbacks of the ramjet engine. In ramjet engine the compressed flow is subsonic but in Scramjet it compresses the air to supersonic flow. So there will no loss in efficiency and speed of aircraft. It flies at speed of above Mach 8. This type of engine based aircraft is using surveillance and combat aircraft to attacked enemies and defend from missiles.


Aircrafts will continue to evolve to many advanced systems but it will be the engine which has the ability to float 200 tonnes of weight mid-air powering the aircraft.

 

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