Can a plane fly with only one engine? What about take off and landing?
How can a plane fly on only one engine? What happens if an engine fails in flight?
Yes they can.
A twin engine plane can fly perfectly well on one engine. In fact it can even take-off and land with just one engine. Losing an engine in flight is not a particularly serious problem, the pilots are trained to fly the aircraft should an engine fail. If an engine did fail in flight, the pilots would carry out a number of checklists to ensure the engine is secure and safe, and then as a precaution, land at a nearby suitable airport – unfortunately this is unlikely to be your destination!
A four engined aircraft loosing an engine is even less of an issue – infact it can loose more than one. A few years ago a 4 engined Virgin Atlantic 747 (a jumbo jet) had an engine failure over the United States. The aircraft continued all the way over the Atlantic ocean back the to the UK without a problem.
With the significant technological improvements that have occurred over the last few decades, engines are built to an incredibly high standard and are very robust as a result. If a failure does occur, the engine is designed to contain any problems and stop it spreading to the rest of the aircraft. For example, if one of the fan blades at the front of the aircraft detaches, the engine casing should stop it leaving the engine.
If a fire occurs in any of the engines, the aircraft has inbuilt fire extinguishers. The pilots can activate these highly effective extinguishers from the cockpit to put the fire out. Even if the fire doesn’t go out, again, the engine casing is fire proof to ensure the fire doesn’t spread outside of the engine.