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Have you had a fire in your plane?

H3R

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If you've had a fire in plane, we'd love to hear what happened and how you handled it.
 

kju1pitt

CFI ASEL
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Engine fire in a 172 on the ground (engine did not start). Kept cranking, cut off the mixture, turned fuel to off, and it didnt consume the fire so I got out the extinguisher and put it out from outside the plane.
 

H3R

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Engine fire in a 172 on the ground (engine did not start). Kept cranking, cut off the mixture, turned fuel to off, and it didnt consume the fire so I got out the extinguisher and put it out from outside the plane.
So glad you were able to put the fire out!
 

astral

Comanche Driver
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I had smoke start coming out from the panel about 5 miles northeast of Payson, AZ as I was climbing to get over a ridgeline. Master went off immediately followed by a 50 degree steep turn to head the opposite direction to KPAN. I was trying to shout to my pilot passenger to get traffic up on his ipad as I turned my normally ship-powered stratus back on using it's battery since I knew we'd be coming in with no coms. I don't recall if he heard me or understood my gestures, I was pretty focused on trying to set a speed record to getting an airplane on the ground before we died in a fire.

About a mile out I realized the smoke had cleared up a bit and I knew we'd be on the ground shortly, so instead of trying to do an emergency gear extension in my high speed descent (that's a low speed procedure btw), I flipped the master on and put the electric gear down. Right as the gear locked down, I saw billows of smoke pouring out from the panel again and I flipped the master back off and slipped the last 1500 feet to a landing on 26.

Turns out my landing light controller burned up, it was charred black. I don't know if there were any flames but I didn't see any evidence of any around it.
 

Leigh

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I had smoke start coming out from the panel about 5 miles northeast of Payson, AZ as I was climbing to get over a ridgeline. Master went off immediately followed by a 50 degree steep turn to head the opposite direction to KPAN. I was trying to shout to my pilot passenger to get traffic up on his ipad as I turned my normally ship-powered stratus back on using it's battery since I knew we'd be coming in with no coms. I don't recall if he heard me or understood my gestures, I was pretty focused on trying to set a speed record to getting an airplane on the ground before we died in a fire.

About a mile out I realized the smoke had cleared up a bit and I knew we'd be on the ground shortly, so instead of trying to do an emergency gear extension in my high speed descent (that's a low speed procedure btw), I flipped the master on and put the electric gear down. Right as the gear locked down, I saw billows of smoke pouring out from the panel again and I flipped the master back off and slipped the last 1500 feet to a landing on 26.

Turns out my landing light controller burned up, it was charred black. I don't know if there were any flames but I didn't see any evidence of any around it.
There are some memories we don't really want to have. You handled it as well as possible.
 

H3R

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I had smoke start coming out from the panel about 5 miles northeast of Payson, AZ as I was climbing to get over a ridgeline. Master went off immediately followed by a 50 degree steep turn to head the opposite direction to KPAN. I was trying to shout to my pilot passenger to get traffic up on his ipad as I turned my normally ship-powered stratus back on using it's battery since I knew we'd be coming in with no coms. I don't recall if he heard me or understood my gestures, I was pretty focused on trying to set a speed record to getting an airplane on the ground before we died in a fire.

About a mile out I realized the smoke had cleared up a bit and I knew we'd be on the ground shortly, so instead of trying to do an emergency gear extension in my high speed descent (that's a low speed procedure btw), I flipped the master on and put the electric gear down. Right as the gear locked down, I saw billows of smoke pouring out from the panel again and I flipped the master back off and slipped the last 1500 feet to a landing on 26.

Turns out my landing light controller burned up, it was charred black. I don't know if there were any flames but I didn't see any evidence of any around it.
Wow! So glad all ended up okay!
 

patbarry

Twin Comanche owner, IA
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If you've had a fire in plane, we'd love to hear what happened and how you handled it.
Ferrying a Twin Comanche from Florida to California. At Houston it grew dark enough to turn on panel, position and strobes, and across desolate West Texas I smelled what seemed like chaff from cut wheat. Then it became like smoke smell from a forest fire, but I couldn't see brush burning anywhere, and then I smelled an acrid smell of an electrical fire. Uh oh!
I turned off the master switch and the smell dissipated so minutes later I turned the master back on, all systems off except one NavCom, and I contacted ATC (which had me on flight following) and notified the problem and that I was continuing without radio contact. El Paso was 120 miles away with a glimmer on the horizon so when I was on descent I turned the master and NavCom back on, they gave me an immediate clearance, I lowered the gear just fine, turned the master off again, and had an uneventful landing.
The next morning I trouble shot the system and found that the post lights have wires with a plastic sleeve over them, and one had rubbed against a screw head in the panel which had (in 4,000 hours) penetrated the plastic sleeve and chose that flight to arc and start a plastic fire.
 
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Baron62

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Engine fire in a 172 on the ground (engine did not start). Kept cranking, cut off the mixture, turned fuel to off, and it didnt consume the fire so I got out the extinguisher and put it out from outside the plane.
I saw the same thing on ground when a C-182 was trying to start. Cranking with fuel off did not put out the fire, but the FBO fire extinguisher did. Seems like the cranking method really has limited effectiveness once the fire starts progressing. It appears that the best thing to do in this situation is turnoff the fuel and then get outside with a fire extinguisher ASAP to minimize the damage.
 
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Leigh

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Ferrying a Twin Comanche from Florida to California. At Houston it grew dark enough to turn on panel, position and strobes, and across desolate West Texas I smelled what seemed like chaff from cut wheat. Then it became like smoke smell from a forest fire, but I couldn't see brush burning anywhere, and then I smelled an acrid smell of an electrical fire. Uh oh!
I turned off the master switch and the smell dissipated so minutes later I turned the master back on, all systems off except one NavCom, and I contacted ATC (which had me on flight following) and notified the problem and that I was continuing without radio contact. El Paso was 120 miles away with a glimmer on the horizon so when I was on descent I turned the master and NavCom back on, they gave me an immediate clearance, I lowered the gear just fine, turned the master off again, and had an uneventful landing.
The next morning I trouble shot the system and found that the post lights have wires with a plastic sleeve over them, and one had rubbed against a screw head in the panel which had (in 4,000 hours) penetrated the plastic sleeve and chose that flight to arc and start a plastic fire.
I've seen wiring that was done by "hangar elves" using automotive spec wiring and pointed out that it will support combustion, whereas the way I understand it, aviation spec stuff will burn as long as heat from a hot wire is providing the needed heat but as soon as that is removed, they won't continue to burn. Have I got that right?
 
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