Jet Engine Types – The 5 Most Common Jet Engines

jet engines typesThere are 5 main jet engine types.

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and is suitable for use in different situations. This is what we will try to analyze in this article.

The purpose is not only cultural: we would like to help you rent or buy a private plane in the best choice once you get proper knowledge of the various engines.

Gas engines for aircraft were first introduced in 1903 by a Norwegian inventor, Aegidius Elling. For the time they were a great and brilliant thing. Since then there has been enormous progress and today there are many different types. Let’s look at them one by one with their peculiarities:

The Turboprop Engine

turboprop engine

You can see how this type of jet engine works in the following video (just in the first seconds…)

Now let’s see which private turboprop private planes are the most popular:

Probably the most famous of all is the Beechcraft King Air, equipped with 2 turboprop engines. It is sold in different versions and can carry from 7 to 11 passengers.

There are other very popular private turboprop jets such as the Pilatus PC-12 which will probably be more and more popular in the future due to the change in European rules which now allow flights of single turbo propeller-powered aircraft.

Another aircraft with such an engine is the Piaggio Avanti, which is also called ‘Posh prop’ for its elegance.

piaggio avanti turboprop

This is a private plane sui generis that amazes those who board it for the first time. The cabin is as spacious as a mid-size jet. It is in fact 1.75 m high and allows you to easily stand up and move around the corridor.

The noise level is also very low, as are the vibrations.

This little gem is even equipped with a toilet and wardrobe. All this makes it suitable even for rather long flights!

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Jet Engines Types – The Turbojet Engine

turbo jet engine

Watch the following video to understand better how this engine works:

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Jet Engine Type – The Turboshaft Engine

This engine is mainly used on helicopters and looks quite like a turboprop engine. Its turbine is not used to produce thrust but to supply power to a crankshaft.

The difference is that in the turboshaft engine the drive shaft is generally not physically connected to the dead shaft.

Therefore it is equipped with a second turbine that has the task of transforming the hot gas expelled from the engine into power. In this way, the drive shaft will run autonomously and at a speed independent of the engine’s rotation speed. Everything is perfectly explained in the following video:

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Jet Engine Type – The Turbofan Engine

The turbofan aircraft engine operates using 2 different airflows. First a hot flow through the various stages of the engine:

  • the air intake: this must channel the air by compressing it a little and slowing it down.

  • the fan: It can have one or more stages of the fan.

  • the combustion chamber

  • the turbine

  • the exhaust nozzle: this is where the propulsion, the thrust of the aircraft starts.

There is then a second flow of cold air that passes only through the fan and the nozzle if the turbofan is at associated flows. Otherwise, this cold flow only passes through the fan.

What matters, in the end, is the bypass ratio, i.e. the ratio of cold flow mass flow to hot flow.

The turbofan engine is the most widely used in modern aircraft because it offers better performance with lower fuel consumption. What makes it preferable is the presence of the fan and the cold flow that increases its efficiency.

All modern jets adopt the turbofan, as it is the engine that allows lower fuel consumption and better performance than the outdated turbojet. This is for reasons related to the presence of the fan and cold flow.

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Jet Engine Types – The Ramjet Engine

This aircraft engine is characterized by the absence of moving parts. The speed of the plane pushes the air into the engine, a bit like the turbojet, except that the rotating part is missing here.

The operating principle of this engine is very similar to that of the turbojet: an intake conveys the external air inside the reactor and mixes it with the fuel by compressing it. From here the mixture enters the combustion chamber from where it is ejected through the rear, naturally at a speed greater than the entry rate.

This engine is very light but has an important disadvantage: the ramjets engine cannot produce thrust at zero airspeed, i.e. it can’t move an aircraft from a standstill.

The aircraft needs the assist of another plane to take off. For this reason, the ramjet engine is mainly used in space vehicles and guided-missile systems. 

Here’s an insightful video about the ramjet engine:


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