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Zinjanthropos
Post  Post subject: Plane Engine Worry  |  Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:51 pm
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Get back from the west coast yesterday flying on a 737. I'm not the best air traveller, especially after an incident about 5 years ago with an engine. So naturally my seat is at a window that has a direct view of the rear of one engine. Perhaps it's normal but on takeoff I saw a puff of smoke from that engine that kind of startled me a bit. Anyways 3.5 hours later we make it to our airport and deplane from the rear door to the tarmac below. I take a look at the engine again and I notice a steady little smoke trail coming out of a narrow opening at its rear, then I see a puddle forming under it, so much so that one of the ground crew was underneath dipping his finger in it, checking. My hunch was something is leaking, lubricant, cooling liquid or water I can't tell.

What can cause a puff of smoke on takeoff? Are the engines designed to shut down if overheating occurs? I assume the pilots are watching gauges that tell them there is a problem and if so is it solely up to them to decide on engine shutdown? Would any puddles forming under the engines while on the ground require a mechanic to check before that plane takes off again?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Plane Engine Worry  |  Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:20 pm
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Could be water vapor, but also any oil or lubricant. It is, after all, an engine. Wonder if any other members here know more than me, though (as I readily stipulate that my comments here are not terribly helpful).

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imp
Post  Post subject: Re: Plane Engine Worry  |  Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:38 am

Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:50 am
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iNow wrote:
Could be water vapor, but also any oil or lubricant. It is, after all, an engine. Wonder if any other members here know more than me, though (as I readily stipulate that my comments here are not terribly helpful).


Awaiting push-out at Indianapolis years back, sitting in a 720 (like 707, but smaller), a worker came out, got up on the wing, opened a small cover, and poured
ONE QUART of oil into an engine! When I got back to Chicago, asking my boss, who was likely the most capable and knowledgeable Mechanical Engineer I've ever known, he revealed those engines' sumps only hold 2 gallons of lubricating oil, and are certified to fly with only 2 quarts remaining!

Unbelievable. Turbojet engines just don't "use" oil. Leak, maybe. imp

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Plane Engine Worry  |  Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:46 am

Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:44 am
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iNow wrote:
Could be water vapor, but also any oil or lubricant. It is, after all, an engine. Wonder if any other members here know more than me, though (as I readily stipulate that my comments here are not terribly helpful).


When I used to work on research aircraft we used to see smoke quite a lot (and occasionally flames!), never seemed to bother the pilots... I'd agree, if the "smoke" was white it is likely to be water vapour, if black probably due to oil. It could also be due to unburnt fuel if the engine hadn't been running long, it can take a while to get up to max efficiency, also the change of angle on take-off may affect the air flow through the engine for a second or so resulting in a bad fuel/air mix... Just guessing though.

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