As Fit As a… Jet Engine

Did you resolve to work out and get fit in 2017? And do you use one of those fancy smartphone apps, monitoring your workout during the day? Perhaps we can add some inspiration by letting you know how we keep our jet engines fit, and how we constantly monitor their condition.

Jet engines don’t really have a choice. They have to be fit and ready to give their peak performance at all times. It’s our job to ensure that they stay that way all year round.

Aircraft Engines

Good vibrations

There are lots of rotating parts in a jet engine. All of this movement causes vibration, which is normal to a certain extent. There’s more vibration during take-off, because the engine has to work harder than when it’s cruising. It’s a lot like your heartbeat increasing when you run uphill.
To get a perfect workout, you can monitor your heartbeat for maximum effect. Similarly, we monitor engines vibration, to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as we’d like.

engine vibration chart

The slightest shifts in engine vibration are monitored and recorded at all times. Not only by the flight crew, but also by technical specialists working at KLM’s operations control centre at Schiphol Airport. Real-time vibration graphs keep them updated on the engines of all KLM planes worldwide 24/7 a day. And you thought your smartphone app was fancy…

OCC front office Blog TM Bew

What about temperature?

As is the case with human body, the temperature of a jet engine is a good indicator of its condition. At take-off, a healthy jet engine has a high turbine temperature, which is monitored as exhaust gas temperature. As time passes, this temperature increases. This is measured with sensors in the engine. When the temperature reaches a certain limit, KLM brings the engine in for maintenance. It’s like you taking your temperature when you’re feeling ill. The main difference is that we constantly monitor the temperature of our engines.


Do you enjoy a hot shower after a good, but sweaty workout? Does it cool you down afterwards? Our engines don’t have the time to take a shower after every flight. On an average day, a jet engine may be up in the air for more than 15 hours. That’s a serious workout, right? If the exhaust gas temperature gets too high, we can easily cool down the engine by flushing it with hot water. Yes, hot water, because that will best rinse away dirt from the engine.

Engine Wash Blog TM Bew 3453

This procedure is aptly called the engine water wash. About 100 litres of water are sprayed into the running engine. The rotation of the engine parts causes a washing machine effect, cleaning it internally. After this “shower”, the engine temperature will have decreased by 10 to 15 degrees, restoring the engine’s condition. In short, our engines love a hot shower just as much as you do.

Power up

Obviously, we do a lot more than this to keep our engines fit, as you may have read in our previous blogs. But we don’t want to keep you from your workout, so why not power up and take on the challenge of getting as fit as a jet engine.

Sounds familiar?

It’s quite possible you’ve heard or read this before. We’ve posted this blog in January 2016. So this actually is a repost. But let’s be honest: getting as fit as a jet engine is an ongoing process for everyone, right? ;-)

Posted by:   Jacky van Damme and Miranda Stolk-Oele  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

Johannes van Doorn

Hello Miranda and Jacky,

As always, I enjoy reading your stories. I like your quality to compare engine technology to day-to-day things, which people can relate to. This leads to better understanding and will make people less ‘afraid’ to get involved with technology. Keep up the good work!


Hi Johannes,
Thank you for your response,
we like to share our knowledge with you,
Kind regards

Terje Hitsøy

Very interessting info.I love to flly with KLM,because i know that safety,is very priorated.


Hi Terje,

Thank you, we also love to fly!

Kind regards


Jacky and Miranda keep it up. I love it when women take up such a (seemingly male) challenge and saying YES WE CAN DO IT.


Hi Admire,

We will keep it up, that is why we need to stay fit !

Kind regards


I love these blogs!

After watching people running around on the apron, I’m finally learning what some of them do.

It’s almost as good as an airport tour.


Hi Stacey,
It is indeed impressive what is happening around a platform.
We hope to be able to show you more in the following blogs!
Best regards,

Félix Maltchinski

Boeing 747-400 engines.


Certainly well noticed, the awesome picture is one of our KLM Boeing 747-400!


Love it that ladies look after the jet engines. They take super care anyway I love KLM. Cheers JO.


Hi Jo,
We love our job, and in our language KLM means,
Keep loving Me!
Cheers Miranda & Jacky



The way you have introduced all the aviation matters and curiosities is absolutely simple and smart! The comparison with our body is very useful to understand both the planes and our health.

Keep going! Hope to see next post!



Hi Marcus, thank you for your response. We’ll keep going, just like our engines!
Kind regards, Miranda


Hi Miranda en Jacky

Super leuk geschreven!

groeten Judith


Dank je wel Judith!


Hi, is the engine water wash carried out during flight or on the ground during maintenance?



Hi Iain,
Thank you for your response. Engine waterwash is carried out on ground during maintenance.
Kind regards, Miranda

willem heitlager

i still mis this place after 8 years after being forced out of olm.due tooy sickness neber heard anything from klm very sad worked for 34 years klm were are you i am sitting here in my wheelchair giving my live for you


Awsome. Thank you for sharing this sophisticated knowledge with us on your fb. Its amazing how jet engine turbine works during take off and landing so much stress is involved on the engine components.

Satnam singh

Klm like good service ✌✌✌✌

Sam Wilkins

I like how you discussed temperatures of a jet engine being able to show some indication of its condition. My nephew loves airplanes, jets and all things flying. He wants to become a pilot one day. I’ll have to share this article with him.

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