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Sneak peek behind the scenes as Virgin Atlantic engineers replace five tonne aircraft engine at Heathrow Airport

It takes a team of six engineers 24 hours to remove, check and reinstall an aircraft engine

Ever thought about all the behind scenes checks involved before you take off on your holidays?

While we are all familiar with the work of cabin crew and pilots, many of us don't know exactly what the engineers do.

Well Virgin Atlantic has now put together this amazing timelapse footage which shows exactly what it takes to undergo an aircraft engine change.

The footage shows a team of six engineers dig deep as they replace a five tonne aircraft engine - the Rolls-Royce Trent 500 - on an Airbus A340-600 at the airline's Heathrow hangar.

An impressive bit of kit is needed to extract it from its exterior cowling.

Virgin Atlantic Engine Change(Image: Virign Atlantic)

Then suspended from the hangar ceiling, a single point hoist powered by a ceiling crane allows the aircraft wings to flex upwards.

The hoist takes the entire weight of the engine, before it is removed and replaced.

Virgin Atlantic Engine Change(Image: Virign Atlantic)

Working across a 24-hour period they have to carefully remove, check and reinstall the engine before later carrying out final checks while passengers are sitting on the plane.

Home to hundreds of airline engineers is the 65,636 sq ft hangar where these complex checks, along with aircraft repairs, are carried out.

Virgin Atlantic A340-600 enters Heathrow hangar(Image: Virign Atlantic)

Phil Maher, executive vice president of operations at Virgin Atlantic, said: “When you think of Virgin Atlantic and the people who work here, more often than not, our famous cabin crew and pilots spring to mind.

"However, there’s an entire team of skilled people working constantly behind the scenes to ensure that thousands of our customers enjoy safe, reliable flights every day.

"This video is a little taste of the many different jobs that our engineers carry out behind the scenes to ensure we remain one of the safest, on time airlines in the sky.”

Engineers replace aircraft engine(Image: Virign Atlantic)

Facts and figures:

  • The front fan diameter of the Trent XWB (the engine we will see arrive with the A350 in 2019) at just under 10ft is wider than the fuselage of Concorde
  • The high-pressure turbine blades in the heart of the engine each generate around 900 horsepower, equivalent to an F1 car
  • The force on a fan blade at take-off is equivalent to almost 1,000 tonnes, same as a freight train hanging from each blade

Virgin Atlantic is currently recruiting for engineering apprentices.

More details can be found at Virgin Atlantic Careers.

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