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Home > ETOPS > Will there be an airport to land on when flying over the seas in case of an engine failure?
Will there be an airport to land on when flying over the seas in case of an engine failure?
Flying - ETOPS
Written by Capt Lim   
Friday, 03 January 2014 04:22

New ETOPS rule extends 777's performance
Dear Capt Lim

You said that aircraft like the Boeing 777 is designed to fly in case of engine failure for about 1:30 hours, maybe more. This is to allow the pilot to divert and land safely at the nearest airport.

But is there always an airport when this happens? For example, on my flight to Cuba, will there be an airport close by in order for the plane to land in case of an engine failure?

Is this aircraft designed to land safely on the sea without risking the life of the passengers?

Thanks again for this website. It is really helpful. I feel that flying is a lot safer now than what I used to believe. I flew many times before but now I’ll do it with more confidence.

Waiting for your answer.

Raidel

Hi Raidel,

Let me refresh you a little on some technicalities about flying over the ocean or water. This process is known as ETOPS (extended twin engine operations). Different airlines and planes have different ETOPS certification. Regulations certify some twin engine planes to fly 1:30 hours from an alternate airport in case of engine failure, others as long as 2 or 3 hours. In fact the latest Boeing 777 is certified to fly for 5:30 hours from an alternate airport after an engine failure! (see video above)

Imagine, if you were flying in an established airline to Cuba with the latest Boeing 777 with 5:30 ETOPS certification, you would have many airports within about 2500 miles away along the route. So if the plane you fly to Cuba is ETOPS certified, there would be an emergency airport for you anytime.

A Boeing 777 is designed to be able to ditch into the water provided it is a controlled one – see my detailed explanation about this in  Landing on Water here

PS. If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim 


Southwest Airlines Launches New Boeing 737-800 ETOPS

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thanks a lot
Hi capt Lim, thanks a lot for your answer and explanation regarding etops and flying over ocean, not my first time flying I have been 5 times over the ocean going and coming back from cuba, I know is not a lot, I knew it was safe to fly but now I am amazed to know realy how safe is, I am flying on a boeing 777 300 or 300er I beleive, even that I could get a bit nervous I am looking forward to my fly, thanks again, I am a fan of your website, my respect capt Lim
Raidel , 04 Jan, 2014
Airbus A320 as long haul
Hi Captain,
Would it be possible for a low-cost airline to use a A320/A321 for long-haul service e.g. from KUL-TAS(stop for refueling/disembark passengers/admit more passengers in Tashkent, UZB) and continue onwards to CDG or LHR for example? Especially if the pax list is trimmed
ED , 06 Apr, 2014

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