IN order to obtain machines of large carrying capacity, there is a tendency to increase the number of power units, and it is of great interest to consider the effect of this policy upon safety in flight. It is obvious that, if all the power units are of the same construction, the possibility of failure of one engine in a machine fitted with two engines is twice that in a machine fitted with one engine, so that in general the probability of one unit going out of action in a multi‐engined machine is proportional to the number of power units employed. In the case of a single‐engined machine horizontal flight cannot be maintained after the engine fails, and unless the failure occurs in the vicinity of a safe landing ground disaster may result. In the case of a multi‐engined machine, however, if level flight can be maintained on the power obtainable from the remaining units, it may bo possible to arrive at a safe landing ground without further trouble. The question, therefore, arises as to which factor is the more important, the increase in the probability of failure, or the ability to fly level with an engine out of action.
Cowley, W.L. (1930), "Safety and Multi‐Engined Machines: A Discussion on Mathematical Lines of the Effect of Dividing Power into Several Units", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 2 No. 12, pp. 299-304. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb029345
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