Friday, October 9, 2015

56th Annual Conference Session Preview

The Turbine Engine: An Introduction to Modern Aircraft Propulsion Systems (ST-2)

The turbofan engines slung under the wings of a commercial airliner are highly engineered mechanisms developed over decades of research costing tens of billions of dollars. They are also manufactured by the thousand, and the aircraft that they propel can be seen almost anywhere on Earth. No other commonly encountered human product is both so sophisticated and so ubiquitous.

This presentation explains why. Beginning with the gas mixture that serves as lift medium, working fluid, and combustion support for aircraft (usually called "air"), it moves on to Newton's Third Law of Motion as it relates to rowboats and the Space Shuttle, dissects the anatomy of a modern airliner, explains why the "four forces" aren't really forces but behave as if they were, and asserts that "simplication" is a genuine word. Two essential concepts—the airfoil and the fluid coupling—are discussed in detail, leading to the central topic: the aircraft turbine engine, how it works, and why it has become an everyday means of transportation for over 3 billion people every year.

But that's not all: attendees will learn about airboats, rockets, electric helicopters, and bypass ratios, and discover the meaning of "time on wing," what that sound is right after the plane lands, and why a 747 is like a shopping cart. Hundreds of illustrations accompany the presentation, and an actual fluid coupling using actual airfoils will be demonstrated using common household items. Questions from attendees will be welcomed.


Nicholas Hartmann began working full-time as an independent technical and scientific translator in 1984, and now specializes in translating patents and related documents for corporate clients and law firms in the US and Europe. He is a Past President of ATA and has also served the Association as President-elect and conference organizer, Director, and Secretary; administrator of the Science and Technology Division (version 1.0); chair of the Client Education Committee, Governance and Communications Committee, and Science and Technology Information Committee; co-chair of the Business Practices Education Committee; and member of the Terminology Committee and The ATA Chronicle Editorial Board. Dr. Hartmann holds ATA certification in French–English, German–English and Italian–English, and still carries the FAA Private Pilot license he earned 25 years ago. For more information visit

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