Inside a Virgin Atlantic engine change

Virgin Atlantic has given a sneak peek into a side of aviation that holidaymakers don’t usually get to see - through a time lapse video recorded at the airline’s London Heathrow hangar.

Sitting on a plane before take-off, it’s common to see engineers doing their final checks - however that’s just one of the essential tests that take place on aircraft everyday as revealed in a new behind the scenes video.

The hangar is 65,636 square feet and is home to hundreds of the airline’s engineers.

It is here that they carry out skilled maintenance work, checks and repairs on aircraft – including the highly specialised task of changing an engine. 

The time lapse video, filmed across a 24 hour period, reveals the extensive engineering expertise that go into changing the engine of one of the largest aircrafts in the world, the Airbus A340-600.

The Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engine weighs in with a dry weight (without fuel) of five tonnes, so an impressive bit of kit is needed to extract it from its exterior cowling. 

Suspended from the hangar ceiling, a single point hoist powered by a ceiling crane allows the aircraft wings to flex upwards, as the hoist takes the entire weight on the engine, before it is removed and replaced. 

Phil Maher, executive vice president, operations, Virgin Atlantic, commented: “When you think of Virgin Atlantic and the people who work here, more often than not, our famous cabin crew and pilots spring to mind. 

“However, there’s an entire team of skilled people working constantly behind the scenes to ensure that thousands of our customers enjoy safe, reliable flights every day.

“This video is a little taste of the many different jobs that our engineers carry out behind the scenes to ensure we remain one of the safest, on time airlines in the sky.”