Aircraft engine controls

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Aircraft instrument panel with engine controls and indicators of a Cessna 182D Skylane Cessna 182D Skylane Cockpit.jpg
Aircraft instrument panel with engine controls and indicators of a Cessna 182D Skylane

Aircraft engine controls provide a means for the pilot to control and monitor the operation of the aircraft's powerplant. This article describes controls used with a basic internal-combustion engine driving a propeller. Some optional or more advanced configurations are described at the end of the article. Jet turbine engines use different operating principles and have their own sets of controls and sensors.


Basic controls and indicators


If the aircraft is equipped with a fuel pump:


In an aircraft with a fixed-pitch propeller, there is no direct control over the propeller rotational speed, which depends on the air speed and loading. Therefore, the pilot has to pay attention to the RPM indicator and adjust throttle/power lever in order to maintain a desired constant speed of the propeller. For example, when the air speed reduces and the loading increases (e.g., in a climb), RPM will decrease and the pilot has to increase the throttle/power. When the air speed increases and the loading decreases (e.g., in a dive), the RPM will increase and the pilot has to decrease the throttle/power in order to prevent RPM from exceeding the operational limits and damaging the motor.

If the aircraft is equipped with adjustable-pitch or constant-speed propeller(s):


Cowl flaps (front).JPG
Front view of open cowl flaps
Cowl flaps (rear).JPG
Rear view of open cowl flaps

If the aircraft is equipped with adjustable Cowl Flaps:

See also

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  1. "MS94-8A Service Bulletin" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-10-09.