I have experienced electrical power failure more than once before flying on the plane.
On the first one, all the passengers were required to go back to the waiting lounge. And on the second one after pulled back, the plane had to return to the terminal. Some technicians then come on board to rectify the problem.
Well actually, on the two occasions, the electricity just went off only for a split second. But the impact is quite troubling to me.
Is it possible for this to happen during the flight?
Most planes are designed with redundancy on the critical systems so that there are other backups should any one of them fails. Even so, there may be as many as 3 backups. For instance, on the Airbus A330 where electrical power sources are concerned, there are 4 generators on the plane. Should any one fails, there are 3 more generators fully capable of supplying all the electrical needs on the plane.
For despatch purposes, at least a minimum of 3 generators must be serviceable if the plane were to fly over a long stretch of water (ETOPS – Extended Twin Engine Operations).
Perhaps the inconvenience and delay caused to you and other passengers were mainly to ensure that the backups are good before departure. The split seconds disruption of electricity was probably due to the transfer of power to the other generators.
It is possible to have a generator failure in flight and it is not a safety issue as there are 3 backups left to continue with the flight.
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