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The power plant may be an engine and propeller combination or a jet engine. The most commonly used power plant in personal aircraft is the gasoline engine, which will be studied in detail later in this chapter. It is mounted in position against a fire wall in the front section of the airplane. The fire wall provides separation of the power plant from the remainder of the fuselage. The engine cowling is the metal covering which encases the engine and its accessories, streamlining the plane and conducting air around the engine cylinders for cooling. Because the action of the pistons is an up-and-down movement, this engine is called a reciprocating engine or a piston engine. In multiengine aircraft, the engines are usually mounted on the leading edges of the wings.
The jet engine gives the airplane a thrust (push forward) because of the jet exhaust gas coming out of the back of the engine. The moving part of this engine is a turbine. Jet engines may be mounted inside the fuselage as in most military fighters or on the outside of the fuselage or on the wings as seen on most commercial airlines. For more information about the power plant and aircraft propulsion see Chapter 6 - Aircraft Propulsion
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Updated: March 12, 2004