Can an aircraft land on one engine?

Lines of jet aircraft parked on the tarmac. Air travel and air traffic.
Photo Credit: Ekky Wicaksono via Pexels

LONDON – In this piece, we will explore the possibility of landing an aircraft on one engine and discuss some other safety measures that airlines take to ensure a safe flight.

Commercial air travel is largely considered the safest form of transportation, but there can still be risks involved.

During a flight, the potential for an engine malfunction can arise and pilots must be prepared to handle it. But what happens when only one engine is functioning? Can the aircraft land on one engine? The answer might surprise you.

What causes an engine to fail?

There are many potential causes of engine failure, but the most commonly seen is the ingestion of foreign objects, such as birds.

Other causes include:

  • Mechanical failures, such as a fan blade failure or compressor stall.
  • Electrical failure, such as a failed ignition system.
  • Exhaustion of lubricating oil.
  • Ingestion of foreign objects, such as birds or hailstones.

In any case, an engine failure is a serious situation that requires immediate attention from the pilot.

What are the odds of an engine failure?

The odds of an engine failure are relatively low, but they can vary depending on the type of aircraft and the cause of the engine failure.

For example, if an engine fails due to a bird strike, the odds of another engine failing are very low. However, if an engine fails due to a mechanical issue, the odds of another engine failing are much higher.

How does a pilot know when to land on one engine?

A pilot knows when to land the aircraft on one engine by monitoring the engine’s performance. If the engine starts to lose power at a rate that is unexpected or outside standard operational limits, the pilots would then begin assessing the problem.

The pilot will then begin assessing the problem using checklists that each airline/operator and aircraft has, and each checklist will cover a large variety of engine failure causes, from fuel exhaustion to bird or hail ingestion.

What are the challenges of landing on one engine?

Landing on one engine can be extremely challenging for pilots. The main challenge is maintaining control of the aircraft while landing. If the pilot does not have enough control, the plane could veer off the runway or even crash.

Not only this but the pilot will also have to cater for the additional yaw movement the one working engine would suffice for, however, extensive training shows them this.

Can all aircraft land on one engine?

While it is certainly possible for an aircraft to land on one engine, it is not recommended. In fact, most airlines have procedures in place that require a plane to land on two engines. The reason for this is simple: the safety of those on board.

When an aircraft loses one engine, it loses a significant amount of power. This can make it difficult to control the plane, particularly during landing.

Landing on one engine also puts additional stress on the remaining engine, which could lead to further problems down the line.


In conclusion, it can be said that aircraft are capable of landing on one engine. While this requires a great degree of skill and experience from the pilot, modern aircraft have certain technological features that make single-engine landings easier to manage.

Although taking off with only one engine is not recommended due to safety reasons, most commercial airlines will still allow for single-engine landings where necessary.

By Jamie Clarke 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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