Can a Plane Fly With One Engine

Can a Plane Fly With One Engine

We, humans, are always fearful of aircraft and scenarios; can a plane fly with one engine is one of the common striking minds before going on the flight but, for instance, get worry-free. 

With my heart popping out and having goosebumps right sitting at the window seat of a commercial dual-engine plane, there was a sudden view of an engine failure that I had first experienced, and what happened next was quite a safe landing. Yes, you read correctly; I had to suffer without any issue, but how is that possible, and can a plane fly with one engine

Over time experience and high research, the hard work pays off. Now it’s been several years that we are highly experts in the field with capable of solving your queries; for instance, you don’t need to be freaking out like once I did because despite the failed engine, a plane is capable of running on a single engine and that the wow part each user and a common person should be aware of. 

Can a Plane Fly With One Engine

Regarding modern-day issues, the manufacturers had made the engines capable of carrying out the whole flying operation on their own if one engine becomes faulty. Yes, whether a dual/ twin engine modern plane or four engines,  all that matters is having a working engine ensuring enough for proper operation in case the plane accidentally loses one of its engines or by technical default during a flight. But for the 04 engine, a single-engine becomes tricky to ensure a steady flight; rather, the safe landing becomes a high priority.

To get a more detailed answer, follow the guide until the end with some additional knowledge for gaining more experience!

How many built-in engines do an aircraft own? 

Based on the buildup, structure, size, type, and requirements, a plane can be classified based on engine numbers ranging from 01-04. For a jet plane of small buildup is built in with a single engine, dual engines planes as the name indicate own twin operated engines, and here you can be worry free in case one engine fails off. The  Airbus A380 comes in the category of 4 engine plane, making it even safer for only 01 of 04 engine failures. Still, because of technological advancement, the dual-engine plane is considered an ideal option. But why? 

Twin engine units are sophisticatedly designed with turbofan technology which has made it quite safer with reduced engine failures and high fuel efficiency to overtake the spot of triple or quad engine planes and is increasing tremendously in the respective field. 

ETOPS Certification for Engine Failure

Can a plane fly with one engine? If Yes, how far is the engine capacity to keep the plane off the ground till it reaches the nearby destination with proper safety? 

To make it clear, firstly, the destination should be clear out whether it’s a far distance route like going off the ocean or other long distances paths; the next is the manufacturers had previously tested and made certification from FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration for Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards or simply ETOPS. 

The manufacturers gain certification for the respective aircraft by fulfilling standard operations with full proof comprising safe landing of the plane in the desired air time frame on a single operational engine. 

When should ETOPS be considered, and how? 

Upon failure of one engine in dual or quad aircraft, the ETOPS standards activate when the plane is 60 min away from the airport operating single engine of a twin-engine jet and 180 min far for a quad engine jet. 

ETOPS Ratings of Important Aircrafts

Various top-rated planes with their flying routes time frame certification are as under; 

For Boeing 747, ETOPS-330 certification indicates 330 minutes or 51/2 hours to safely operate a fly covering the defined time with a single engine. The Boeing Dreamliner 787, and 777 twin-engine ETOPS-330 certified planes, also go for the same 330 min flight. 

At the same time, the Boeing 767 model has less time than the previous model with 180 ETOPS certification that can make you reach a nearby airport existing at a time frame of 180 minutes. The Boeing 737, the next generation model, is also certified with ETOPS-180 making them truly capable of working on a single engine. 

The most popular Airbus A330 comes with ETOPS-180 having 180 minutes flight time certification operating with a single engine. At the same time, the new innovative A350 is even more advanced, with ETOPS-370 ensuring a safe flight time of 6 hours reaching the nearby safe destination. Just wow!

Based on the type of plane and its certification, the pilot needs to select the desired route following the ETOPS certification and clarifying these scenarios will make zero issues in safe flying and landing with a single-engine operated plane. 

Overall Chances for Engine Failure- Find the Facts

Upon research and considering the statistical evaluation of engine failures from worldwide cases, it is considered a rare case is occurring almost 01 in a million flights and overall rating a 25 % fault over a year. With less consequence, it is verified that the issue isn’t worrying and the pilot is well trained to handle it without any damage and loss. I experienced a rare but safe case on a local commercial plane, but the fear is common, which we all can feel despite how well the pilot and the craft can handle it. 

Engine failure becomes problematic when the 03 out of 04 engines stop functioning in midflight. Still, one engine is operatable, but because of large sizes and whole passenger count, the complexity increases compared to only a single engine failure. 


How far a plane can fly with 01 engine?

A plane with ETOPS Certification will determine the flight time while operating with only one engine. For instance, the Airbus A330 has an ETOPS-180 that defines the predefined airframe of 180 minutes based on its quad engine jet buildup.

How long can a plane stay in the air without engines? 

Upon complete engine failure, a plane can stay in the air covering almost 60 miles gliding. All air crafts can glide, but the most commonly fixed-wing aircraft are more capable of gliding over engine failure. 

How long can a plane fly without stopping? 

With advanced aircraft, ideally, it is possible to fly for 24 hours without stopping. Still, according to research, the estimated longest flight time reported was from Singapore to New York City, completing the route in 18 hours and 50 minutes without stopping. 

How long can a 737 fly on one engine?

The BOEING 737 quad built-in engine system is recently certified capable of over 180 minutes of air flight to land safely on the incoming safe destination. But making it fly at a certain altitude seems difficult as the rest of the 03 engines are totally out of order, and one engine isn’t capable of maintaining flight. Rather, it will ensure descent by limiting the speed for a safe landing. 

What happens if one engine fails on a plane?

When one of the engines fails to operate the craft, the first sign is a significant drop in the plane speeds with less power for high-altitude flying that needs descent to achieve a mid-level altitude to regain a standard speed. You may also experience unfavorable drifts easily controlled by using the rudder. Upon one engine failure, the other one sets as MCT max continuous trust. 

Can a plane fly if both engines fail?

A dual-engine commercial aircraft with complete engine failure won’t be able to keep the standard flight; rather will start to glide in the air, looking for a safe landing. Sixty miles is achieved while gliding, losing engine functionality at a standard cruise altitude. 

Can a 747 fly on one engine?

In 1982 the Boeing 747 from British Airways went on engine loss with only one engine working, that only helped reduce the descent speed, which later gained a steady altitude with the operation of 02 more engines. So one engine isn’t enough for a Boeing 747 to make it fly, but still, it is possible to land the craft with certain limitations of altitudes and speed. 

Can a 04 engine plane fly with one engine?

That’s a difficult scenario to operate a 04-engine plane with only 01 engine. To get a safe landing, you must keep slowing the speed until the craft can safely touch the ground. 


We hope the guide is informative and useful with multiple scenarios and query-solving points to help you understand “can a plane fly with one engine.” The scenario isn’t problematic for dual engine jets, which are more advanced and seem to opt more than the triple or quad, but in the case of having 04 engine craft, the flying case for only one engine is problematic and needs to be handled well by the pilot. Reach out more such informative content by following us for new exciting, up-to-date info!

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