Flight Redemptions

What is IFSD in Aviation? (In Flight Shutdown)

Updated: February 29, 2024

The Importance of In-Flight Shutdown (IFSD) in Aviation

In-flight shutdown (IFSD) refers to the unexpected cessation of an aircraft engine's operation during flight. This is a critical event that demands immediate attention and action from the flight crew. IFSD can occur for various reasons, including engine malfunctions, fuel system failures, or external factors such as bird strikes or volcanic ash encounters. It is essential for aviation professionals to understand the significance of IFSD and the procedures involved in handling such situations to ensure the safety of passengers and crew on board.

Causes and Consequences of In-Flight Shutdown

IFSD is a grave concern in aviation due to its potential repercussions. The causes of IFSD can vary depending on the specific circumstances, but some common factors include mechanical failures, fuel contamination, and human error. Mechanical failures can result from issues such as turbine blade damage, oil system malfunctions, or compressor stalls. Fuel contamination, on the other hand, can occur due to the presence of water, sediment, or other foreign particles in the fuel system.

The consequences of IFSD can be severe, posing a significant risk to the aircraft and its occupants. The sudden loss of engine power requires swift and decisive action from the flight crew to ensure the safe continuation of the flight. The aircraft may experience a loss of altitude, reduced maneuverability, and increased workload for the pilots. Furthermore, IFSD can also lead to the loss of vital aircraft systems, such as hydraulic or electrical systems, depending on the configuration of the aircraft. These consequences emphasize the criticality of addressing IFSD promptly and appropriately.

Procedures for Handling In-Flight Shutdown

Aviation authorities and aircraft manufacturers have established comprehensive procedures for handling IFSD scenarios. These procedures are designed to guide flight crews through the necessary steps to mitigate risks and ensure the safe operation of the aircraft. Let's take a closer look at these procedures:

1. Recognizing and Confirming IFSD

The first step in handling IFSD is recognizing the occurrence of the event. The flight crew must be vigilant in monitoring engine parameters and indications to detect any signs of abnormal operation. If an IFSD is suspected, the crew must confirm the situation by cross-checking engine instruments and consulting the appropriate checklists.

2. Declaring an Emergency

Once an IFSD is confirmed, the flight crew must promptly declare an emergency to air traffic control (ATC). This declaration ensures that the aircraft receives priority handling and assistance from ATC, enabling the crew to focus on managing the situation effectively. Declaring an emergency also allows for the coordination of emergency services and resources on the ground.

3. Executing the Appropriate Checklist

After declaring an emergency, the flight crew follows the IFSD checklist provided by the aircraft manufacturer or operator. This checklist guides the crew through specific actions and procedures to address the IFSD situation. The checklist typically includes steps such as isolating the affected engine, verifying fuel supply, and attempting engine restarts if applicable.

It is crucial for flight crews to be familiar with the aircraft's IFSD checklist and undergo regular training to ensure their proficiency in executing these procedures. The ability to respond swiftly and accurately to an IFSD event can make a significant difference in the outcome of the situation.


In-flight shutdown (IFSD) is a critical event in aviation that demands immediate attention and action. It can occur due to various causes, and its consequences can be severe, posing risks to the aircraft and its occupants. However, through comprehensive procedures, such as recognizing and confirming IFSD, declaring an emergency, and executing the appropriate checklists, flight crews can effectively manage IFSD scenarios and ensure the safety of everyone on board.

It is crucial for aviation professionals to stay updated on the latest practices and guidelines related to handling IFSD. By prioritizing safety and adhering to established procedures, the aviation industry can continue to enhance its safety standards and minimize the occurrence and impact of in-flight shutdown events.

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