What is EFTO in Aviation? (Engine Failure On Take-Off)

Engine failure on take-off (EFTO) is a critical situation that can occur during the initial phase of a flight. It refers to the failure of one or more engines of an aircraft while it is attempting to take off from the runway. This scenario poses significant risks and challenges for pilots, as it can compromise the safety and performance of the aircraft. Understanding the causes, consequences, and appropriate response to engine failure on take-off is crucial for aviation professionals to ensure the well-being of crew members and passengers.

The Causes and Consequences of Engine Failure on Take-off

Engine failures on take-off can occur due to various reasons, including mechanical and operational issues. Some of the common causes of engine failure include:

  • Malfunctioning components
  • Fuel problems
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Inadequate pilot training and error
  • Bird strikes
  • Foreign object debris on the runway

The consequences of engine failure on take-off can be severe and potentially catastrophic. The loss of power can cause a significant reduction in thrust and impair the aircraft’s ability to climb or maintain altitude. This can lead to a loss of control or even a forced landing, depending on the altitude, terrain, and available runway length. Additionally, the sudden decrease in engine power can result in reduced airspeed, making it difficult for the pilot to maneuver the aircraft safely.

Procedures for Dealing with Engine Failure on Take-off

In the event of an engine failure on take-off, pilots are trained to follow specific procedures to mitigate the risks and ensure the safety of the aircraft and its occupants. These procedures may vary depending on the type of aircraft, but generally involve the following steps:

1. Execute the “Two Engine Inoperative” Drill

Upon experiencing engine failure on take-off, the pilot-in-command must immediately execute the “Two Engine Inoperative” drill. This involves taking the following actions:

  • Apply maximum braking effort to decelerate the aircraft and abort the take-off if there is enough runway remaining.
  • Retract the landing gear to reduce drag and improve gliding distance in case of a forced landing.
  • Confirm and identify the failed engine by referencing the engine instruments and warning indicators.
  • Complete the engine shutdown checklist for the failed engine, including closing relevant fuel valves and isolating the engine from the aircraft systems.

Following these procedures helps the pilot stabilize the aircraft, minimize further damage, and maximize the chances of a safe landing.

2. Declare an Emergency and Communicate with Air Traffic Control

When faced with engine failure on take-off, pilots must declare an emergency to air traffic control (ATC) as soon as possible. This communication enables ATC to provide immediate assistance and allocate necessary resources to accommodate the emergency landing. The pilot should clearly communicate their intentions, including the preferred landing site, current altitude, and estimated time of arrival.

Effective communication between the pilot and ATC is essential for coordinating emergency services, notifying airport personnel, and ensuring the availability of suitable emergency equipment at the designated landing site.

3. Perform a Forced Landing or Divert to the Nearest Suitable Airport

In the event that a safe return to the departure airport is not feasible, the pilot must make a decision either to perform a forced landing or divert to the nearest suitable airport. Factors influencing this decision include:

  • Available altitude
  • Distance to the nearest airport
  • Weather conditions
  • Aircraft performance capabilities

If a forced landing is necessary, the pilot should look for a suitable landing site, considering factors such as the terrain, obstacles, and accessibility of emergency services. The pilot’s training and experience play a crucial role in assessing the viability of potential landing sites and executing a safe forced landing.

Alternatively, diverting to the nearest suitable airport allows for a more controlled approach and access to emergency services and support facilities. Pilots should consider the runway length, condition, and available services at the divert airport to ensure a safe landing.

It is important to note that each aircraft type has specific procedures outlined in the aircraft’s operating manual or company Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Pilots should adhere to these procedures and rely on their training and experience to make the best decisions in emergency situations.

Additional Resources:

To learn more about engine failures on take-off and emergency procedures, check out this comprehensive guide on FAA’s website.

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