Video: How aircraft hydraulic systems workKevin J. Harrigan | August 09, 2022
In recent weeks, there have been at least two notable aircraft hydraulic failures, which thankfully resulted in no plane crashes or passenger injuries.
On July 8, an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), completed an emergency landing at its destination airport in Kochi, India. Just days later, on July 12, a Delta flight From Edinburgh, Scotland, to Boston, Massachusetts, needed to divert to Shannon, Ireland, unexpectedly. Both flights were compromised due to unspecified hydraulic failures.
Hydraulic systems on large airliners are typically doubly redundant. Various, less-critical components may not have the same redundancy, such as aircraft doors. But typically flight surfaces and landing gear can all be powered by one of three different hydraulic systems on the aircraft, and potentially a ram-air turbine as well.
Undoubtedly, being a passenger on one of these flights was quite scary and sometimes aircraft hydraulic issues end in disaster. Fortunately, this is something pilots train for, as aircraft can still be steered with a complete hydraulic failure provided the plane has wing-mounted engines. By changing the throttle of individual engines, pilots can change heading and land in most cases.
Watch the accompanying video to learn more about aircraft hydraulic systems, courtesy of the Captain Joe YouTube channel.