Do planes have ignition keys like cars? How do you keep an airplane secure? Does they have keys for the outer doors or cockpit? The short answer is: some airplanes have keys and some airplanes don’t.
Most large planes and jets do not have keys. They start using a combination of switches and knobs. Most small planes do use keys to start, along with keys to interior doors and luggage compartments. Most airplane keys are not required to run the plane. They’re only needed for ignition.
Are keys required to start plane engines?
Typically, large planes and jets do not need keys to start. Many will have keys to secure doors and luggage compartments, though. But, small planes and private aircraft have keys like those you would use for a car. They ignite the engine, but are not often needed to keep the plane running.
If an aircraft requires a key, it will typically have only one engine. These are much easier to operate than dual engine planes. With two engines, as you might expect, both have to be running properly. This takes a lot of work and preparation. You have to know what you’re doing while in the air, too, since you’re managing twice the equipment.
But with a single engine, you won’t need to worry about navigating other buttons and switches in a particular sequence to get the engine running properly. Instead, just turn the key and you’re good to go.
Do commercial airplanes have keys?
Typically, commercial airplanes don’t have ignition keys or keys for doors. Most commercial aircraft have a Cockpit Door Surveillance System, or CDSS. This means that the flight team in the cockpit can see who wants to enter the cockpit door. Most of the time, cockpit doors feature panels where you type in a password to enter. This password is not shared with airline passengers. Only airline staff members know the code.
Most commercial airplanes do not have keys to their exterior doors. The TSA conducts airport security that is thorough enough that doors with locks are not needed. Every passenger has to go through airport security before boarding a commercial plane.
Large jets often have jet bridges instead of doors, which are not locked and unlocked by keys.
You might find some large aircraft with battery master switches. These switches cut off battery power to an airplane in the case of theft. They also prevent your battery from draining which may cause some parts of the plane to fail.
Do small planes have keys?
Most small planes have both ignition keys and keys to interior doors and compartments. Some small aircraft feature throttle locks, which, as the name suggests, lock the throttle. Throttle locks are metal pieces that fit over the throttle and prevent airliners from operating the aircraft. Typically, you can unlock the throttle with either a code or a key.
One reason small aircraft have keys is they are more prone to theft. With a key-powered airplane, as long as the key’s not in the plane itself, it can’t be started. Small planes often sit in large parking lots for up to weeks at a time. They can’t be supervised 24/7 so keys are a great way to keep them secure.
When flying overnight trips, they’re also left in the hangar until the next morning, or the next flight.
Most private jets don’t have ignition keys. Instead, they are used to lock internal compartments and doors. To start a jet, you first need to hook it up to a ground power unit that supplies it with electricity while on the ground. Once that’s hooked up, you can start the engine. Typically, jets will have ignition switches or buttons.
Do large airplanes have keys?
Large airplanes and jets do not have ignition keys or locks. Instead, they use switches and knobs to start the plane. They are flipped and turned in a specific sequence to turn on the engines properly. Generally, large airplanes are more difficult to start than small airplanes, which often have ignition keys.
Some large aircraft have keys for exterior compartments and doors, but the largest jets use jet bridges instead of doors.
You might be thinking: why don’t all large planes have ignition keys? Is it not a security risk? Someone may be able to steal the plane if it’s not locked securely. But, it’s incredibly difficult to steal a plane. The planes are guarded by heavy security and many of them are inside locked garages, hangars, or warehouses. There’re also cameras everywhere, so if you did bypass the security, it wouldn’t be hard for the staff to identify you after the fact.
Do gulf stream airplanes have keys?
Gulf stream jets do not have ignition keys, but some have keys to lock the exterior doors for extra security.
Does the Boeing 747 have keys?
No, the Boeing 747 does not have keys. It starts using a series of switches. The Boeing 747 has what’s called an auxiliary power unit, or APU. Think of it like a generator that powers the plane. To start the Boeing 747, you need to first turn on the APU.
Check out the full process to start the Boeing 747 below.
Do jets have keys?
Most jets do not have ignition keys, but some feature keys to exterior compartments and doors for additional security. Most jets are stored in hangars and constantly monitored, though, so keys are not a necessity.
Do helicopters have keys?
It entirely depends on the type of helicopter. Some helicopters have both ignition keys and keys for the doors. Since helicopters only have a couple of doors, it’s common that if it does have a key, that key will start the helicopter and lock the door. Helicopters that have pistons often have ignition keys, but turbine-powered helicopters do not.
Do fighter jets or military planes have keys?
Fighter jets and military planes do not have keys. Instead, they run by flipping a series of switches to turn on the batteries and start the engines.