Ram Air Turbines and Jet Propulsion: A Comprehensive Guide

Ram air turbines (RATs) and jet propulsion are two critical components in the aerospace industry, providing efficient and reliable power for aircraft. RATs are small turbines that harness the ram pressure of airflow to generate power, while jet propulsion utilizes the thrust of a jet engine to propel an aircraft through the air.

Technical Specifications of Ram Air Turbines

RATs are typically compact and lightweight devices that can be deployed automatically or manually in the event of an engine failure. They are designed to provide a reliable source of power for critical aircraft systems, such as hydraulic pumps, electrical generators, and environmental control systems.

The technical specifications of a RAT can vary depending on the size and type of the aircraft it is designed for. However, some common specifications include:

Specification Range
Diameter 20-50 inches (50-127 cm)
Weight 20-100 pounds (9-45 kg)
Power Output 5-50 kilowatts (6.7-67 horsepower)
Rotational Speed 10,000-50,000 revolutions per minute (RPM)

RATs are engineered to operate efficiently across a wide range of airspeed and altitude conditions. They typically feature a multi-stage turbine design, with each stage optimized for a specific range of operating parameters. This allows RATs to maintain high levels of power output and reliability even in challenging flight environments.

The materials used in RAT construction are also carefully selected to ensure durability and resistance to the extreme temperatures and stresses encountered during operation. Common materials include high-strength alloys, such as titanium and nickel-based superalloys, as well as advanced composite materials.

Technical Specifications of Jet Propulsion

ram air turbines and jet propulsion

Jet propulsion is a more complex system than RATs, and its technical specifications can vary widely depending on the type of engine and aircraft it is used in. However, some common specifications include:

Specification Range
Thrust Output 5,000-150,000 pounds (2,224-6,672 kgf)
Fuel Consumption Rate 0.5-2.0 pounds per hour per pound of thrust (0.22-0.89 kg/h/kgf)
Turbine Inlet Temperature 1,500-2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (815-1,093 degrees Celsius)
Bypass Ratio 4-12:1

Jet engines are complex systems that rely on the compression, combustion, and expansion of air to generate thrust. The key components of a jet engine include the compressor, combustion chamber, and turbine, all of which work together to convert the chemical energy of fuel into kinetic energy.

The design and performance of jet engines are heavily influenced by factors such as the type of aircraft, operating environment, and mission requirements. For example, high-performance military aircraft may use afterburning engines with higher thrust outputs, while commercial airliners may prioritize fuel efficiency and noise reduction.

DIY Ram Air Turbines and Jet Propulsion

Building a RAT or a jet engine from scratch is a complex and challenging task that requires a high level of expertise and experience. However, there are some resources available for those who are interested in learning more about these systems and how they work.

One such resource is the book “Jet Engine Design for Amateurs” by Paul D. Seller, which provides a detailed overview of the design and construction of jet engines for hobbyists. The book covers topics such as engine components, materials, and manufacturing techniques, as well as safety considerations and performance calculations.

Another resource is the “Jet Engine Tutorial” by John S. Denker, which provides a comprehensive introduction to the principles of jet engine design and operation. The tutorial covers topics such as compressors, turbines, combustion chambers, and nozzles, as well as the overall design and performance of jet engines.

While building a fully functional RAT or jet engine from scratch may be beyond the capabilities of most DIY enthusiasts, these resources can provide valuable insights into the underlying principles and engineering challenges involved in these systems. They can also serve as a starting point for those interested in exploring the field of aerospace engineering and propulsion systems.


  1. Seller, P. D. (2017). Jet Engine Design for Amateurs. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  2. Denker, J. S. (2019). Jet Engine Tutorial. Retrieved from https://www.av8n.com/how/htm/jets.html
  3. NASA (2021). Supersonic Transport Optimization to Mach 4. Retrieved from https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20205011829/downloads/NASA-TM-20205011829final.pdf