Four-engine aircraft are aircraft that are propelled by four jet engines. This design is used in both military and civil aviation. Four-engine aircraft are predominantly classic long- haul aircraft . Nowadays, the Boeing 747 , the Airbus A340 , the Airbus A380 , the Ilyushin Il-96 and in some countries also, for example, the Ilyushin Il-76 and Ilyushin Il-86 as well as on short and medium-haul routes are particularly important in passenger air traffic on long and ultra-long routes the Avro RJ / BAe 146 family . In 2009, around 3200 four-engine models were in use worldwide in the civil and around 1100 in the military.
The first jet aircraft that were important in aviation were the De Havilland DH.106 Comet , Boeing 707 , Douglas DC-8 , Vickers VC-10 and the Ilyushin Il-62 , of which a few except for the Comet and the VC-10 are still in Are operating.
As a result of technical improvements, four -engine models are increasingly being replaced by twin-engine aircraft such as the Boeing 767 , Boeing 777 , Boeing 787 and Airbus A330 as well as the Airbus A350, even on long-haul routes .
As the first four-engine aircraft, a variant of the originally twin -engine Arado Ar 234 C was constructed in several prototypes for use as a bomber during the Second World War in 1945 . From April 1949 the first jet airliner flew the de Havilland Comet from the British manufacturer de Havilland . Two serious accidents in 1950 and 1954, in which two planes broke apart in the air due to material fatigue, gave other companies the opportunity to establish themselves on the market with four-engine civil aircraft, including the US company Boeing with the model series Boeing 707 and Douglas with the series DC-8. New designs were also forced in military use, e.g. B. in the Soviet Union the Myasishchev M-4 and in the USA the North American B-45 . During the Cold War , bombers in particular were equipped with four jet engines because of their greater range and the possibility of a larger payload.
As a result of the increasing passenger traffic since the 1960s, more civil aircraft types with four engines were built, sometimes in very high numbers. The early civil four-engine aircraft that are still best known today include types from the manufacturers Boeing (e.g. Boeing 707, Boeing 747 “Jumbo Jet”), Douglas (e.g. DC-8), Ilyushin (e.g. Il- 62 , Il-86 ) and the Franco-British joint venture Aérospatiale - BAC developed since 1962 supersonic - airliner Concorde . The Convair CV-880 and Convair CV-990 remained rather unsuccessful .
One of the few business jets with four engines is the Lockheed Jetstar , sold from 1961 , of which over 200 copies were built.
In particular, the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet wide-body aircraft has radically changed civil air traffic since its maiden flight in 1969. It made connections over long distances with high passenger numbers (approx. 400-550 passengers ) without any problems and increased safety on transoceanic flights with its four engines. The European company EADS has also been creating a four-engine long - haul aircraft with its Airbus A340 since the early 1990s , which today is one of the main modes of transport on long-haul flights . The Airbus A380 was launched in 2005 as the world's largest passenger aircraft with a maximum of around 800 passengers on two continuous decks.
The Avro-RJ family (before 1993: BAe 146) with good short take-off and landing properties plays a major role in city connections for short and medium-haul use up to around 2800 km.
Effects of the ETOPS
Increasing improvements in the reliability of turbofan engines allow more extensive use of twin-engine aircraft in international long - distance air traffic. ETOPS also follows these technical developments . This is the comprehensive regulation of long-haul flights with two- and three-engine aircraft.
As a result, the Airbus 340 is no longer used as frequently, and as four-engine civil aircraft, the Boeing 747 and Airbus 380 will in future mainly take off and land at airports around the world for whose size class there is no twin-engine alternative.
A niche for four-engine aircraft will probably initially be private, non-commercial aircraft operations (e.g. luxury travel aircraft) and long-haul operations of newly established airlines. For example, private jets do not receive ETOPS approval from the FAA . Even airlines that have not proven sufficient experience in the operation of long-haul aircraft do not necessarily receive ETOPS approval immediately after starting operations. For this reason, z. For example, the Tahitian airline Air Tahiti Nui only uses the A340-300: At the start of operations at the end of 1998, there was no ETOPS approval and the Airbus A340 was the only model for the young company that it could use in its route network, which only consisted of long-haul transoceanic routes . In addition, there are still routes in the South Pacific that can only be flown with three- and four-engine aircraft, e.g. B. Auckland - Santiago de Chile .
Engines below the wings
Although disadvantages in terms of controllability during engine failures, the risk of foreign objects being sucked in and cabin noise are accepted, the advantages in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance costs outweigh this.
Engines on the side of the stern
The engines are attached on both sides at the end of the fuselage in engine nacelles (for example with Vickers VC-10 or Ilyushin Il-62 ), mostly with spacers. This arrangement requires the design of the horizontal tail unit as a T-shaped tail unit.
It is an advantage to be able to construct aerodynamically very "clean" wings, in which the air flow is not disturbed by engines and their suspensions. In addition, the ground clearance is not dictated by the dimensions of the drooping engines, and the risk of engine damage due to the suction of foreign objects is massively reduced, since the air inlets are very high above the ground.
If one of the engines fails, the aircraft is much easier to control because the lever arm of the loss of thrust is extremely short.
Due to the arrangement close to the fuselage, the noise level in the rear passenger area is somewhat higher, but extremely low in most of the cabin.
A significant disadvantage is the comparatively poor accessibility of the engines for control and maintenance purposes.
Integration of the engines into the wings
In the first jet-propelled airliner, the De Havilland DH.106 Comet , the engines were installed in pairs in the wing roots.
If one of the engines fails, the aircraft is much easier to control because the lever arm of the loss of thrust is extremely short. This in turn allowed the use of a relatively small and thus lighter fin.
The risk of engine damage due to the suction of foreign objects is reduced as the air inlets are relatively high above the ground.
A disadvantage is the necessary and weight-intensive structural reinforcement in the wings in order to ensure the stability of the wings even in the event of an engine explosion.
Advantages and disadvantages
Four-engined aircraft are characterized by better take-off properties than aircraft with fewer engines and are not subject to any restrictions with regard to route guidance by ETOPS . However, fuel consumption and, above all, maintenance costs are higher in four-engine aircraft because of the larger number of engines.
The thrust of three engines must be sufficient to operate safely if one engine fails. In contrast to twin-engine airplanes, the engines can be used at a higher capacity (about 3/4 of the maximum) and thus operated closer to the optimal operating point.
For a long time, four engines were associated with long-haul safety. This also explains the advertising slogan of the British airline Virgin Atlantic Airways " 4 Engines 4 long-haul ", which until the delivery of the twin-engine Boeing 787 in October 2014 had only operated four-engine Boeing 747 and Airbus 340.
The engines are generally somewhat smaller than in twin-engine aircraft and, taken as a whole, lead to higher fuel consumption per passenger-kilometer , although this no longer has such a strong impact due to modern developments. The ratio of passenger kilometers to fuel consumption is generally increasing in modern four-engine wide-body aircraft compared to earlier models (military models are not taken into account).
Classification of four-engine aircraft with primarily civil use according to use, dimensions and production
Note on the table: For a quick overview, the aircraft types used in 2012 are highlighted in light blue. The columns can be sorted by clicking the small arrows in the heading bar.
Piece ready for use
(from – to)
(from – to)
|Airbus A340 -200 / -300 / -500 / -600||1991-2011||377||362||France / Germany / European consortium||59-75 m||60-63 m||14,600 km||365 t||A340-600 replaced by Boeing 747-8 as the longest aircraft in the world|
|Airbus A380 -800||2005–||97||97||France / Germany / European consortium||72 m||79 m||14,800 km||560 t||A380-900 (79 m length) and freighter A380-800F currently frozen|
|Antonov An-124 Ruslan / Condor||1982–1992,
|57+||25th||Ukraine (former Soviet Union )||69 m||73 m||4,800 km||392 t||Wide-body transport aircraft, initially used in the military|
|Avro 706 Ashton||1950s||6th||-||United Kingdom||26-30 m||26 m||2,700 km||37 t||Prototypes|
|Avro Canada C-102 jetliner||1949||1||-||United Kingdom / Canada||25 m||30 m||2,000 km||30 t||prototype|
|Avro RJ family (RJ85, RJ100, BAe 146)||1981-2003||387||183||United Kingdom||26-30 m||26 m||2,800 km||46 t||only four-engine short- and medium-haul aircraft|
|152 / Baade B-152 / Dresden 152 / VL-DDR 152||1958-1961||3||-||German Democratic Republic||31 m||26 m||2,400 km||46 t||Prototypes, the only jet aircraft development in the GDR|
|Beriev Be-42 / A-40 Albatros / Mermaid||1980s||2||2||Russia (former Soviet Union )||46 m||42 m||5,500 km||86 t||world's largest amphibious aircraft, originally for military use|
|Boeing 707||1957-1979||1.010||2||United States||44-46 m||40-44 m||9,700 km||150 t||first long-haul aircraft equipped with jet engines|
|Boeing 720||1957-1967||154||-||United States||41 m||40 m||6,700 km||106 t||Short to medium haul variant (originally: Boeing 707-020)|
|Boeing 747 -100 / -200 / -300 Jumbo Jet ( Classic series)||1969-1991||675||80||United States||71 m||60 m||13,000 km||374 t||no longer in production|
|Boeing 747-123 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA)||1975 and 1989||2||2||United States||70 m||59 m||1,850 km||322 t||Transport of the NASA space shuttle (approx. 70 t empty weight)|
|Boeing 747SP Special Performance||1975-1987||45||18 (approx.)||United States||56 m||60 m||15,400 km||317 t||shortened jumbo jet|
|Boeing 747 -400 / -400F / -8 / -8F Jumbo Jet||1989-||734||605||United States||71-76 m||65-69 m||13,500 km||400 t||Passenger version of the 747-400 no longer in production; 747-8 is currently the longest aircraft in the world|
|Boeing 747LCF Dreamlifter||2003–||3||3||United States||71 m||65 m||7,800 km||364 t||Wide-body transport aircraft, used in Boeing production|
|Boeing VC-25A / 25-B (747-200B) Air Force One||1990-1991||2||2||United States||71 m||60 m||13,000 km||375 t||Machines of the President of the USA|
|Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde 101/102||1962-1976||20th||-||France / United Kingdom||61 m||25 m||7,250 km||190 t||Supersonic airliner in service until 2003|
|Convair CV-880 Skylark / Golden Arrow||1959-1962||65||-||United States||36 m||39 m||5,000 km||83 t||Jet airliner|
|Convair CV-990 Coronado||1961-1963||37||-||United States||42 m||36 m||8,700 km||115 t||enlarged version of the Convair CV-880|
|De Havilland DH.106 Comet 1-4||1951-1964||114||-||United Kingdom||28-35 m||32-35 m||6,900 km||73 t||first jet airliner|
|Douglas DC-8||1958-1972||556||17th||United States||45-57 m||43-45 m||12,400 km||160 t||one of the first jet passenger aircraft, from 1967 McDonnell Douglas, since 1997 Boeing|
|Ilyushin Il-62 Classic||1963-1999||292||13||Russia (former Soviet Union )||53 m||43 m||10,000 km||165 t||Long-haul jet of the USSR , all-metal aircraft|
|Ilyushin Il-76 Candid [civil]||1974–1997, since 2005||560 (approx. Civil)||147||Russia (former Soviet Union )||46-53 m||50 m||6,300 km||210 t||heavy transport and commercial aircraft, civil and military use (see below)|
|Ilyushin Il-86 Camber||1977-1994||106||4th||Russia (former Soviet Union )||59 m||48 m||5,000 km||206 t||first wide-body aircraft in the Soviet Union|
|Ilyushin Il-96||1993–||29||13+||Russia||55-63 m||57-60 m||11,000 km||216 t||Wide-body airliner|
|Lockheed L-1329 JetStar / C-140||1961-1979||204||12 +||United States||16 m||18 m||4,800 km||20 t||also used militarily|
|McDonnell 119/220||1958||1||-||United States||20 m||17 m||3,800 km||21 t||Inferior competitor to the Lockheed JetStar|
|Shanghai Y-10||1980||2||-||People's Republic of China||42 m||43 m||8,300 km||110 t||Chinese project of a passenger jet, only one airworthy copy built|
|Tupolev Tu-144 Charger||1960s – 1978 (approx.)||16||-||Russia (former Soviet Union )||65 m||28 m||6,500 km||207 t||first supersonic airliner, only 7 months in use|
|White Knight Two (by Scaled Composites )||2008–||1||1||United States||24 m||43 m||5,400 km||45+ t (?)||experimental carrier aircraft for spacecraft SpaceShipTwo|
Classification of four-engine aircraft primarily for military use according to size and production
Note on the table: For a quick overview, the aircraft types used in 2012 are highlighted in light blue. The columns can be sorted by clicking the small arrows in the heading bar.
Piece ready for use
|Arado Ar 234 C||1945||14th||-||German Empire||12 m||14 m||700 km||10 t||Prototype, approx. 1.5 t payload|
|Avro Vulcan||1956-1965||136||-||United Kingdom||30 m||34 m||7,400 km||113 t||one of the three so-called V-bombers (Vulcan, Valiant and Victor) of the Royal Air Force|
|Beriev A-50 Shmel / Mainstay||1984–||40 (approx.)||31 (approx.)||Russia (former Soviet Union )||47 m||50 m||7,300 km||172 t||AEW variant of the Il-76 MD , also incorrectly called Il-82|
|Boeing 707-320 E-3 Sentry||1974-1991||68||64||United States||46 m||44 m||8,000 km||147 t||AWACS air reconnaissance aircraft|
|Boeing 707-320 E-6 Mercury||1989-1992||16||16||United States||45 m||45 m||12,100 km||154 t||US Navy combat control platform|
|Boeing 707-300 E-8 Joint Stars||1988-2005||19th||17th||United States||46 m||44 m||9,300 km||152 t||flying command and control center|
Boeing / de Havilland C-8A QSRA
||1972||1||-||United States||24 m||30 m||20 t||Prototype for testing the upper surface blowing effect ( Coanda effect )|
|Boeing C-17 Globemaster III||1991–||250+||246||United States||53 m||51 m||5,100 km||263 t||multifunctional large transport aircraft, payload 77 t|
|Boeing C-135 Stratolifter / EC-, OC-, RC-, TC-, WC-135||1954-1965||45||29||United States||42 m||40 m||12,000 km||124 t||Transport aircraft , derived from the KC-135 , various special models|
|Boeing C-137 Stratoliner / C-18||1954-1955||3||-||United States||46 m||44 m||12,000 km||184 t||derived from the Boeing 707 , V-137C was used as Air Force One of the President of the USA|
|Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker||1954-1991||761||470||United States||42 m||40 m||17,700 km||146 t||Tanker aircraft , payload 92 t of fuel|
|Boeing RC-135 ELINT||1964-1968||40 (approx.)||22nd||United States||41 m||39 m||6,500 km||134 t||US Air Force reconnaissance aircraft , derived from the KC-135|
|Boeing Rockwell B-1B Lancer||1970–1988 (approx.)||104||66||United States||44 m||41/23 m||5,500 km||216 t||long-range strategic bomber|
|British Aerospace Nimrod||1966-1974||62||-||United Kingdom||36-38 m||35 m||9,300 km||87 t||Royal Air Force reconnaissance aircraft until 2011|
|Convair B-36 D - B-36J Peacemaker||1947-1954||300 (approx.)||-||United States||49 m||70 m||13,000 km||186 t||additional 6 propeller engines|
|Convair B-58 Hustler||1955-1964||116||-||United States||29 m||17 m||3,200 km||73 t||high speed supersonic bomber|
|Handley Page Victor||1952-1963||86||-||United Kingdom||36 m||34 m||7,400 km||80 t||one of the three so-called V-bombers (Vulcan, Valiant and Victor) of the Royal Air Force|
|Ilyushin Il-76 , Il-76M Candid , Il-78 Midas , Il-76MD-90A||1978–||400+ (approx.)||165+ (approx.)||Russia (former Soviet Union )||47-53 m||51 m||6,000 km (approx.)||210 t||IL-76M as a transport and hospital aircraft,
IL-78 as a tanker (payload approx. 28 t of fuel),
IL-76MD-90A as a modernized version from 2011; also in civil use (see above)
|Kawasaki XP-1||2007–||8th||8th||Japan||38 m||35 m||8,000 km||80 t||Prototypes in Eluger trials since 2007|
|KongJing KJ-2000||2000–||4+ (approx.)||4+ (approx.)||People's Republic of China||46 m||50 m||5,000 km (approx.)||200 t (approx.)||AWACS air reconnaissance aircraft, variant of the Il-76 MD / A-50|
|Lockheed C-5 Galaxy||1968-1973, 1986-1989||131||73||United States||75 m||67 m||4,400 km||380 t||Wide-body transport aircraft, payload 118 t or 345 soldiers|
|Lockheed C-141 Starlifter||1963-1968||285||-||United States||44-51 m||48 m||6,500 km||147 t||Transport plane|
|Martin P6M Sea Master||1955-1959||12||-||United States||41 m||32 m||3,200 km||80 t||originally planned as a nuclear bomber|
|McDonnell Douglas YC-15||1975-1979||2||-||United States||38 m||33/40 m||4,800 km||98 t||Prototype of a military transporter (in competition with Boeing YC-14 )|
|Myasishchev M-4 / 3MT Bison||1953-1963||93||-||Soviet Union||48 m||50 m||10,000 km (approx.)||181 t||strategic bomber|
|Myasishchev M-50 Bounder||1955–1959 (approx.)||2||-||Soviet Union||57 m||35 m||7,400 km||200 t||Prototypes for a supersonic bomber|
|North American B-45 tornado||1948-1950||143||-||United States||23 m||27 m||1,600 km||37 t||light bomber|
|Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit (also: The Stealth Bomber )||1997–||21+||19th||United States||21 m||52 m||18,000 km||152 t||long-range strategic bomber|
|OK-GLI / BTS-02 (Buran)||1984||1||-||Soviet Union||36 m||24 m||km||105 t||Independent, airworthy model of a Buran space shuttle, flights 1984–1989|
|Sukhoi T-4 Sotka||1972-1974||4th||-||Russia (former Soviet Union )||44 m||22 m||6,000 km||125 t||Prototypes, never in service|
|Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack||1981–1994, 2005–||35+||12+||Russia||54 m||55/35 m||10,000 km||275 t||heavy strategic swing-wing and supersonic bomber|
|Vickers Valiant||1952-1957||107||-||United Kingdom||33 m||35 m||3,500 km||63 t||one of the three so-called V-bombers (Vulcan, Valiant and Victor) of the Royal Air Force|
|Vickers VC10 / VC10K / C1 / Super VC10||1962–1970, 1978 – mid-1990s (approx.)||54||6th||United Kingdom||48-52 m||45 m||6,300-11,000 km||150 t||one of the first long-haul aircraft, mainly in the military variant VC10K / C1 in use as|
|Xian Y-20 / Yun-20||2012–||2||2||People's Republic of China||47 m (approx.)||50 m (approx.)||4,400 km (approx.)||220 t||Strategic transporter , new development, prototypes in flight test|
- Single-engine aircraft
- Twin-engine aircraft
- Three-engine aircraft
- Six-engine aircraft
- Eight-engine aircraft
- The respective model is classified under the name under which it became known or, in the case of current models, under which it is currently offered or listed by the manufacturers. Possibly. Several names are listed, for models from the former Soviet Union, Russia, China, etc. also the NATO names. For some models there is no entry in the German-language Wikipedia, in these cases there is a direct link to the English Wikipedia.
- The numbers are taken from (a) overviews in Flight International : "World Airliner Census" for civil aircraft (as of mid-year), "Directory World Air Forces" for military aircraft (as of end of year). The overviews summarize all aircraft in use on the respective cut-off date, including temporarily decommissioned ("parked") aircraft, with the exception of aircraft operated by leasing companies. (b) Airbus production information at www.airbus.com (always updated) under Aircraft families and Boeing at www.boeing.com . Some of the total number of items produced are not published. B. the engl. Taken from Wikipedia or other statistics from Flight International and Aviation Week . The overviews are online at Flightglobal. Archived from the original ; accessed on March 23, 2020 . available as PDF. Figures for China are generally not certain. a. sinodefence.com .
- Country or countries with the registered office of the manufacturer company or companies. In cooperation, e.g. B. EADS / Airbus all countries directly involved are listed. In the case of the countries of the former Eastern Bloc , the former USSR may also be listed for production before 1990.
- The length and span dimensions are rounded to the nearest meter in order to keep the table clear. Different sizes for variants of a model: from – to m, for swing-wing aircraft : maximum / minimum size.
- The manufacturer than normally maximum specified range in kilometers when in normal payload, most powerful model of the type without consideration of additional tanks, except possibly at specifically mentioned ER models ( extended range rounded = extended range) in kilometers, optionally
- Gross weight, according to manufacturer information in metric tons, most powerful model of the type, possibly rounded, military models including weapon load.
- further information at aerofiles.com : "QSRA 1978 =" Quiet Short-haul Research Aircraft "airliner developed by NASA-Ames from de Havilland DHC-5 / C-8A [63-13687] and modified by Boeing with four 7500 # Lycoming YF102 turbofans, new wing and tail. Employed upper surface blowing powered lift technology over inboard Coanda flaps and boundary layer control air over the wing's leading edges and ailerons; ff: 7/6/78. In a joint test program with USN it made 37 touch-and-go and 16 full-stop landings and take-offs from USS Kitty Hawk on 7/10/80. "
- Market analysis for four-engine jets at airliners.de
- Report from EADS
- The A380-800 - The new dimension of flying. Dr. Peters Group, January 23, 2008; archived from the original on March 12, 2016 ; accessed on September 3, 2013 (consumption data of the A380).
- which Avro RJ: 166; BAe 146: 221
- Description of the four engines at Globalsecurity as the two main engines and two sustainer engines ... established on the pylons above the landing-gear fairings after the wing with a drawing
- Statistics on the Boeing 720 at Aviastar
- For details on production, see the Boeing website , accessed on January 27, 2013
- Type -100: 205 copies, -200: 316 copies, -300: 81 copies, freighter -200F: 73 copies, without 747-SP
- according to flightglobal.com type -100: 1 copy, -200: 58 copies, -300: 21 copies, status: autumn 2012
- Production (English)
- continuously updated overview of the models in service (English), accessed on January 27, 2013
- including according to boeing.com model -400: 532 copies, -8:; Freighter -400F: 166, -8F: 28 copies, as of December 2012
- according to flightglobal.com as of autumn 2012: 8 in civil use, 5 in military use
- total, around 960 machines of the types Il-76 / Il-78 were produced by 2010, of which approx. 560 for civil use and approx. 400 for military use
- At the end of 2012 in the civilian sector in Africa 21, Asia 24, Europe 102
- in military use for special missions
- at airliners.net a dozen are for 2012 min. Still in use copies located listed (VP-CSM, 62-4197, N159B, ZS-ICC, 61-2489, etc.)
- Another photo of an Ar 234C at Airventure (Ger.)
- Sources: Hans-Jürgen Becker, NASA aviation research and groundbreaking developments, Stuttgart, 2005, pp. 101–103 (The test programs C-8A AWJSRA and QRSA)
- in 2009 as special models 2 OC-135, 22 RC-135, 3 TC-135 and 2 WC-135
- a total of at least 1,000 machines of the types IL-76 / IL-78 were produced up to 2012, of which over 560 for civilian use and over 440 for military use
- Information from the Flug-Revue ( Memento from March 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
- Type description of the KJ-2000 (English), accessed on January 27, 2013
- more photos at chinesemilitaryreview , accessed on January 27, 2012
- more information see Buran, Technik Museum Speyer, Speyer 2008, ISBN 3-9809437-7-1
- more photos at defenseindustrydaily.com ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Decommissioning planned for autumn 2013, frequently updated overview of the models in use at vc10.net , information on retrofitting at defenseindustrydaily.com , both sources in English, accessed on January 30, 2013
- s. britains-smallwars.com ( Memento of February 4, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
- Chinese Y-20 revealed in new online pictures. Flightglobal, December 27, 2012, accessed January 10, 2013 .