“Engine fire on an Airplane ?”
In 2011 a cruise ship was disabled and adrift in Indian Ocean due to a fire in the engine room. Could something like that happen on an airplane ?
Question asked by Chad
A fire on an airplane could be a dangerous situation. Airplanes are equipped with fire detection, fire fighting and fire extinguishing equipment. Pilots and flight attendants are trained in fire fighting techniques.
The level of danger depends on where the fire develops. On an airplane, engines are external to the fuselage and the passenger cabin. Therefore an engine fire does not pose a threat to passengers. But don’t worry, a pilot will not have to walk out on the wing and spray the engine with a hand held fire extinguisher. Engines have fire detection and fire extinguisher systems. Should there be an engine fire, pilots will quickly follow specific drills and checklists to shut the engine down and extinguish the fire. All multi-engine commercial airplanes are designed to fly perfectly well with an inoperative engine. The pilots would than land the airplane at the closest suitable airport.
Pilots practice and are tested in performing these procedures in a flight simulator, every few months. It is a regulatory requirement to satisfactorily pass the test in all emergency procedures in the flight simulator, to maintain proficiency to operate the airplane. In addition, pilots verbally rehearse engine fire and other critical emergency procedures every few days, in the flight deck, prior to a flight.
A bit more about Captain Dan:
Captain Dan Baz enrolled in Flight School at the age of 16.
He has completed studies in Aircraft Engineering and Master of Business Administration. He has been at the controls of many different types of aircraft, from single engine Cessnas to large intercontinental jets on global routes.
Over the last four decades he has flown thousands of hours up in the blue sky.
Have a question for the Captain ? Send it to Captain Dan Baz firstname.lastname@example.org Every week a question from the readers will be selected and answer posted in this column.