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Turbine vs. Piston Aircraft Engines: What’s the Difference

At SAS, we offer quality commercial airplane parts for both turbine and piston engines. From a new assembly to various spare parts, we have everything you need to get your engine up and running again. Although piston engines have existed for decades, turbine engines are relatively new in the field. If you want to learn more about the difference between turbine vs. piston aircraft engines, you’re in the right place.

How Turbine & Piston Engines Work

One of the main differences between these two engine types is how they operate. Piston engines use a crankshaft to spin propellers directly. Turbine engines also rotate propellers, but instead of crankshafts that directly turn the propellers, they use exhaust gases. Both turbine and piston engines successfully produce thrust and can fly safely through the skies.

Performance Differences

Now that you know how each engine works let’s go over the performance difference between turbine and piston aircraft engines. Piston engines are efficient at standard power outputs, but turbine engines are more efficient at higher power outputs. In other words, turbine engines will perform better at higher altitudes than piston engines. For speed, both turbine engines and piston engines have around the same speed levels, but the turbine is usually a little faster and more efficient.

Safety Differences

In a piston engine, many mechanical components can fail at any time due to regular wear and tear. A piston engine has parts that move in multiple directions, such as up-and-down, side-to-side, or rotating. All this movement in various directions causes wear and tear, leading to potential vibration failure. Turbine engines have just as many, or more, parts than piston engines. The difference is that all the parts move in the same direction, so turbine engines are usually safer and more dependable.

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