Sunday, January 31, 2016

Is it possible to save fuel on a four-engined aircraft by using engines of two different sizes

I got this thought when I looked at this photo of an Ilyushin Il-106 plane. Since maximum thrust is required only occasionally, does it make sense to have two large engines that operate all the time, and two smaller engines which are turned on/off only as needed? Will this system result in overall cost savings for the operator? What are the engineering implications of this system? Can the two smaller engines be electric?

Of course, if all four engines are of equal size, then it probably won't be possible to turn off one pair of the engines [think of Airbus A340 or Antonov An-124].

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