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Home > Air Travel > Is it the flight crew cleaning the motors in-flight?
Is it the flight crew cleaning the motors in-flight?
Flying - Air Travel
Friday, 02 March 2012 14:31

Emirates Airbus A380 departing Manchester Airport

Sir,

I am a very regular TransAtlantic commuter with various carriers.

I have always wondered why, during long haul flights at cruise altitude approximately 3 hours into the flight, the engines seem to suddenly make an increased noise (of a lower lot deeper tone) for what seems like a minute or so?

Is it the flight crew cleaning the motors in-flight?

Is it an automatic function and what purpose does it serve to the motors?

I would be interested to learn

Many thanks,

Neil

Hi Neil,

I am not sure which planes you are referring to. However, I cannot relate your description to any event I know of during the cruise, especially after 3 hours into the flight.

For your information, during the cruise, the plane is on autopilot and the thrust is also on the automation mode.

There is no such thing as cleaning the motors in flight, especially on jet engines. They are indeed very reliable and any 'cleaning' if needed, are done during maintenance or overhaul after thousand of flying hours.

However, there is a possible event that I can think of to cause the change of noise during the cruise. The captain may have reduced the speed prior to entering turbulence and when the turbulence is over, he may have resumed normal speed, causing the auto thrust to apply a slight increase in power to achieve the previous speed.

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Most likely as Capt Lim remarked, or a "step climb" to higher level
Capt Paul , 29 Apr, 2012
Air Traffic Control (ATC)
The route Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo is really very crowded every working day from 06:00 AM to 10:00 AM and also from 04:00 PM to 08:00 PM and during these flights I could hear annoucements when the pilot said they would have to reduce speed to avoid getting too close to the plane flying just ahead. We could clearly hear the reduction of the engine noise besides feeling a braking action. This is not related to cleaning but just following ATC instructions instead.
Carlos Moreira , 09 May, 2013

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