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Basic Gas Turbine Rating » Basic Turbine Knowledge » Thrust Reversers

64.16 Thrust Reversers

64.16.2 Describe thrust reversal.

Thrust reversal, also called reverse thrust, is the temporary diversion of an aircraft engine's thrust for it to act against the forward travel of the aircraft, providing deceleration. Thrust reverser systems are featured on many jet aircraft to help slow down just after touch-down, reducing wear on the brakes and enabling shorter landing distances. Such devices affect the aircraft significantly and are considered important for safe operations by airlines. There have been accidents involving thrust reversal systems, including fatal ones.

Reverse thrust is also available on many propeller-driven aircraft through reversing the controllable-pitch propellers to a negative angle.


64.16.4 Explain the purpose and operation of thrust reversal.

A landing roll consists of touchdown, bringing the aircraft to taxi speed, and eventually to a complete stop. However, most commercial jet engines continue to produce thrust in the forward direction, even when idle, acting against the deceleration of the aircraft. The brakes of the landing gear of most modern aircraft are sufficient in normal circumstances to stop the aircraft by themselves, but for safety purposes, and to reduce the stress on the brakes, another deceleration method is needed. In scenarios involving bad weather, where factors like snow or rain on the runway reduce the effectiveness of the brakes, and in emergencies like rejected takeoffs, this need is more pronounced.

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