The Online Library of Knowledge

LET'S EXPLORE How things work

How does a jet engine work?

A model of a jet engine, showing the working partsA model of a jet engine, showing the working partsIn a jet aircraft, hot, compressed air blasts out of the back of the engine, thrusting it forwards. Airliners, military jets, and some speed boats are powered by jet engines. Turboshafts, which are used in helicopters, use the jet power to turn a shaft to which its rotor blades are attached. A plane's jet engines are contained within engine cowlings (casings) attached to the wings, or on either side of the fuselage.


A balloon is thrust forwardA balloon is thrust forward

Jet power

If you inflate a balloon, pinch the opening, then let it go, what happens? The force of air escaping from the balloon sends it flying off in the opposite direction. This is how a jet engine works.



A turboprop is jet engine that drives a propeller via a shaft. The shaft is turned by the spinning turbine. Some small airliners and transport aircraft are powered by turboprops.

© 2019 Q-files Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile