What Are The Components of Aircraft Engines?

Posted on May 6, 2022 linda strong aircraft engines

Whether you are flying a simplistic trainer aircraft or a robust military fighter jet, most modern aircraft rely on the combustion of fuel and air to create the power necessary for flight. Fuel combustion takes place in the engine of the aircraft, making it an essential element for aviation. While there are a diverse set of engines that exist for varying types of planes, most share a standard set of components that work together to make fuel combustion possible. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of the most common engine components that are found in the aircraft engine.


Cylinders are commonly found in the reciprocating engines of trainers and smaller models, and they serve as a housing for pistons. Each engine cylinder is fitted with a piston and two spark plugs, and an intake and exhaust valve allows for fuel-and-air mixtures to enter and exit as required. Depending on the type of aircraft engine, there may be four to six aviation cylinders in an assembly.

Spark Plugs

The spark plugs of an aviation engine are necessary for the actual combustion of the fuel-and-air mixture, utilizing power to create a spark strong enough for ignition. As stated before, each engine cylinder features two spark plugs, ensuring redundancy in the case that one fails. Additionally, having more than one spark plug also creates the benefit of increased performance as burning is more uniform.


For a spark plug to receive the energy it needs to ignite fuel, it relies on magnetos. For redundancy, a typical engine will utilize two magnetos so that sparks can continue even in the case of a failure. As magnetos rely on the engine for their functionality, they will operate for as long as the engine is powered. Nevertheless, they can still operate even in the effect of a total electrical power loss, utilizing a permanent magnet to create the electrical field they need for operations.


In order for the engine to begin operations, it requires a starter. Early aircraft often had to be hand-cranked, and this was a tiring and dangerous activity if performed incorrectly. Nowadays, most engines utilize starters that provide a high amount of torque to initiate functionality with ease. It is important that the starter is well taken care of due to its importance in standard engine operations.

Lubrication System

As the engine combusts fuel-and-air mixtures to create the power necessary for flight, a high amount of heat and friction will ensue. To prevent damage to various parts and to uphold efficiency, engines are designed with a lubrication system which will provide oil to various aircraft hardware parts and assemblies. Aircraft gauges in the cockpit will provide the pilot with oil system readings during flight, and it is important to monitor aircraft gauges for upholding performance and safety.


As aircraft become increasingly electrified with advanced airplane instruments and entertainment systems, a large amount of electrical power is needed. Alternators are an engine driven system that can generate electrical current through the transformation of power, and they ensure energy for all electrical systems. In the case that the alternator fails, such aircraft will also have a battery that can supply necessary power.


As stated before, engines typically rely on the combustion of fuel and air to achieve flight. With a carburetor, fuel and air can be mixed to the specific ratio needed for flight, and valves assist in the management of flow. For aircraft such as light trainers, an accelerator pump may be found alongside the carburetor assembly for the means of aiding starting and acceleration processes. However, if an aircraft has a fuel injection system, it will not use a carburetor.


While the aforementioned parts are all important to the general functionality of an aircraft engine, there are many other parts that are also crucial. As such, it is important that you regularly maintain and replace aging and defective parts on a regular basis to uphold airworthiness and safety. Aviation Sourcing Solutions is a premier purchasing platform that belongs to the ASAP Semiconductor family of websites, and we offer customers access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts. Take the time to explore our offerings as you see fit, and our team of industry experts is always ready to assist you throughout the purchasing process however necessary. Get started today with the submission of an RFQ, and we will do the rest for you!

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