If cars lose significant power at high altitudes, how are ICE-powered planes overcoming this challenge?

212 viewsOtherTechnology

If cars lose significant power at high altitudes, how are ICE-powered planes overcoming this challenge?

In: Technology

9 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

They don’t.

The higher you go, there is less oxygen in the air, therefore it cannot burn as much fuel.

The only solution to this is a turbo or supercharger.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Planes with piston engines without a form of turbo or supercharging typically can’t fly above 10k ft, whereas just adding a supercharger can make that same engine go up to almost 25k ft.

With a purposefully designed turbine engine, though, commercial aircraft can quite easily fly at 42k ft because of adaptations to low air pressure.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Most of them don’t. This does limit their power at altitude. They might have a ram air intake which improves their power at speed and this is often behind the propeller to push even more air into the engine. But in general these airplanes are not good at altitudes. If you need power at altitude the airplane needs a supercharger or turbocharger. This helps push more air into the engine and is less dependent on the pressure.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Airplanes are moving very fast, so they pull in air as they move into it.

This doesn’t fully account for the lack of oxygen, but a stationary plane at cruising altitude wouldn’t be able to perform at nearly the same capacity as a moving plane at the same altitude. They just deal with the inefficiency at a certain point.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Turbo chargers and superchargers can help – they both pump more air into the cylinders than would fit into a naturally aspirated engine, that is at ambient pressure.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Your car requires oxygen to combust. The higher you are , the less air is entering your system, which in turn is less oxygen mixed with your fuel to actually combust.

Where as for planes, their engines actually prefer thinner colder air. This also requires them to fly faster, to keep the same air intake they would experience at lower altitudes.

This is also achievable because the air is less dense, so less drag.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Aircraft have a fuel air mixture control, usually the red knob near the throttle. As you climb in altitude you gradually pull this knob out and it reduces the amount of fuel entering the engine. This keeps the ratio of fuel and air at the optimum amount to extract the most power out of the engine. Some Aircraft have avionics that allow you to fine tune it while others may just use the exhaust temperature gauge to eyeball the correct amount to lean. Obviously this has limits and eventually you’ll need a turbo or supercharger to get more power at even higher altitudes.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Simple. The higher they go up, the colder the air gets, the more ice they have to go on. /s

Anonymous 0 Comments

ICE powered aircraft overcome this challenge by being designed to take in a sufficient amount of air so that the engines can provide enough power at the altitudes the aircraft is designed to fly at. The SR-71 blackbird took this a step further by having a jet engine which [dynamically changes its configuration mid-flight](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratt_%26_Whitney_J58#/media/File:SR71_J58_Engine_Airflow_Patterns.svg) so that it could operate effectively both at low altitudes at low speeds, as well as at high altitudes and high speeds.