Flight Redemptions

What is EFFRA in Aviation? (Engine Failure Flap Retraction Altitude)

Updated: February 22, 2024

What is Engine Failure Flap Retraction Altitude (EFFRA)?

Engine Failure Flap Retraction Altitude (EFFRA) is a critical term in aviation that refers to the altitude at which a pilot must retract the flaps on an aircraft in the event of an engine failure during takeoff. It is a crucial procedure that pilots must be aware of and follow to ensure the safe operation of the aircraft.

During takeoff, aircraft flaps are extended to increase lift and improve the aircraft's performance at lower speeds. The extended flaps create more drag, allowing the aircraft to maintain lift at slower speeds. However, in the event of an engine failure, maintaining a high altitude becomes essential to ensure the safety of the aircraft and its occupants. Retracting the flaps reduces drag and allows the aircraft to climb more efficiently.

EFFRA is determined based on the aircraft's specific characteristics, such as weight, configuration, and performance capabilities. It is calculated by considering various factors, including the aircraft's climb performance, available runway length, and obstacle clearance requirements. The specific altitude at which the flaps should be retracted may vary depending on the aircraft type, but it is typically around 400 feet above ground level (AGL).

The Importance of EFFRA in Engine Failure Situations

In the event of an engine failure during takeoff, pilots must act quickly and follow the appropriate procedures to ensure the safety of the aircraft. One critical aspect of this procedure is retracting the flaps at the correct altitude, as specified by the EFFRA. Failing to retract the flaps at the right altitude can have significant consequences for the aircraft's performance and climb capabilities.

When an engine fails during takeoff, the aircraft's climb performance is significantly affected. The thrust imbalance caused by the failed engine results in a reduced climb rate and increased drag. By retracting the flaps at the EFFRA, the pilot reduces the aircraft's drag and allows it to climb more efficiently, compensating for the loss of engine power.

Retracting the flaps at the EFFRA also helps improve the aircraft's overall stability and control during the climb-out phase. The extended flaps create additional lift and may cause the aircraft to pitch up, potentially leading to an aerodynamic stall if not properly managed. By retracting the flaps, the pilot reduces the risk of a stall and maintains better control over the aircraft.

It is important for pilots to be familiar with their aircraft's specific EFFRA and practice the procedure during training to ensure they can execute it effectively in real-world scenarios. Following the correct EFFRA procedures can significantly enhance the chances of a successful recovery from an engine failure during takeoff.

Factors Affecting EFFRA Calculation

The calculation of EFFRA involves several factors that can vary based on the specific aircraft and operating conditions. Understanding these factors is crucial for pilots to determine the appropriate altitude for flap retraction during an engine failure. Some of the main factors influencing EFFRA calculation include:

Aircraft Weight: Heavier aircraft may require a higher EFFRA due to increased drag and reduced climb performance.
Runway Length: The available runway length affects the aircraft's takeoff performance and the time available to retract the flaps before obstacles or terrain become a concern.
Obstacle Clearance Requirements: The presence of obstacles near the runway may necessitate an earlier flap retraction to maintain a safe clearance.
Aircraft Configuration: Different flap settings may have varying impacts on climb performance, and the EFFRA may differ accordingly.
Performance Charts: Aircraft manufacturers provide performance charts that help pilots determine the appropriate EFFRA based on specific operating conditions.

Pilots must consider these factors and consult the aircraft's performance charts or manuals to determine the exact EFFRA for their specific aircraft in different scenarios.

Engine Failure Flap Retraction Altitude (EFFRA) plays a vital role in the safe operation of an aircraft during an engine failure. Pilots must be well-versed in the specific EFFRA procedures for their aircraft and ensure they are prepared to execute them accurately in emergency situations. By adhering to the correct EFFRA guidelines, pilots can enhance the chances of a successful recovery and ensure the safety of the aircraft and its occupants.

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