This article needs attention from an expert in Aircraft. Please add a reason or a talk parameter to this template to explain the issue with the article. WikiProject Aircraft (or its Portal) may be able to help recruit an expert.(June 2009)
A flame-out is most likely to occur when flying through certain weather conditions at a low power setting such as flight idle(e.g. during the descent). These conditions include flight through moderate to heavy turbulence, rain, hail or sleet. The potentially hazardous circumstances are highlighted in the flight manual with a requirement to select continuous ignition. Alternatively the Fadec will select ignition automatically if it detects specific changes in engine parameters. It will also perform a relight if necessary. A manual re-light attempt is made by following the procedure in the Flight Operations Manual.
Early jet engines, such as Junkers Jumo 004 used in early German jets, including the Messerschmitt Me 262, were at relatively high risk of flameout. Fast acceleration or inappropriate throttle settings could impoverish the fuel/air mixture causing a flameout. If this happened at low altitude, it would often lead to the total loss of the aircraft. However, modern jets are engineered to a higher degree of technical quality and are controlled by systems (FADEC) that constantly fine-tune their performance; as such flameouts are not as common as they were in the early days of jet-powered aviation.
In-flight restarts are termed windmill or starter-assisted depending where in the flight envelope the start is attempted. The re-light envelope occupies the lower part of the flight envelope below about 30,000 ft (28,000 ft in the case of a Boeing 747 which experienced flame-outs at 37,000 ft). At lower airspeeds starter assistance to windmilling is required to provide the necessary conditions in the combustor for a restart. At higher airspeeds free windmilling alone provides the correct conditions.
On 21 November 2002, during a routine test flight the Eurofighter DA6, a Spanish development prototype, crashed following an irrecoverable ‘double engine flame-out’ in flight; both crew members escaped unharmed.
On October 14, 2004, Pinnacle Airlines Flight 3701 suffered flameouts in both of its engines. The aircraft crashed near Jefferson City, Missouri, after being unable to restart the engines. The pilot and co-pilot were both killed.
In September 2007, while engaged in separation tests of the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, an F-22 Raptor suffered a brief dual-engine flameout while performing a negative-g, 360 degree roll with eight SDBs loaded in the weapons bay. The flameout occurred because the aircraft entered the maneuver with an incorrect trim setting. The engines were restarted almost immediately, allowing the pilot to remain in control of the aircraft and land at Edwards AFB, California, without further incident.