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-   -   Engine Fire after V1 (https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/10906-engine-fire-after-v1.html)

fly_boy 30th Apr 2001 15:26

Engine Fire after V1
What are your company policies on Engine Fire at or after V1 (continued take-off). My company advises to acknowledge, cancel warning and retract gear with +ve climb. Shutdown and actions only at acceleration/clean-up height.
I feel that by leaving the high power lever setting and fuel lever open (take-off condition), you are adding loads of fuel to the fire. At certain heavy weight/temperature conditions, the aircraft gets up to accelerate height for as long as 1 min (forever). Do you think that it is wise to leave fuel being injected while fire is raging or should it be immediately shutdown. Any company variations will be appreciated.

B clam 30th Apr 2001 16:10

My Company's SOPs states that nothing be touched until 500' which I think is a good compromise. By the time you have got your head around what is happening 500'won't be too far away. At 1000' you should be concentrating on the clean up (I assume we are talking perf A).

Slasher 30th Apr 2001 16:11

Our policy states NO ACTION BELOW 400ft AGL (for 737). This is because this part of the flight is VERY critical and mistakes can be easily made in haste while under very heavy stress. Also a burning engine may be delivering positive power which you badly need under those circumstances particularly if your at your 2nd segment limit.

Iz 30th Apr 2001 16:23

Indeed, especially if it turns out to be an overheat, bleed leak, false warning. Haste can kill ya.

Eff Oh 30th Apr 2001 20:04

Our sop's state:- "No recall drills below 500ft AGL." (B757) Then reconfirm failure. State "Recall drills engine fire, severe damage or seperation."

Denti 1st May 2001 02:42

Our SOP states no action below 400 ft agl except silence the bell and at positive climb gear up. At 400 ft we have to select the proper rollmode, in most cases lnav, and then do the recall items.


fly_boy 1st May 2001 10:37

Thank you all,
It seems pretty standard practice across industry for actions only above 400' agl. I appreciate all your contributions; anyone with a different approach to this would be welcome for discussion.


411A 1st May 2001 11:12

Interesting discussion. In the mid-eighties, Saudi Arabian had a very ah....interesting incident on departure from JED in a B747SP at max weight. At rotation, number two engine had an uncontained failure with bits injested into the number one engine, causing an engine fire warning. The F/E, without saying anything, pulled the number one fire handle, leaving the aircraft with two operating engines at 900 feet. Not a pretty picture. The Captain (PF) descended to approximately 300 feet to enable acceleration to flap retraction height and climbed away at 250 knots, started fuel dump immediately, and returned for an overweight landing. Goes to show that inappropriate action at low altitudes can be dangerous. They were VERY lucky.

ft 1st May 2001 12:45

From an engineering viewpoint, engine firewalls are built to withstand 120 seconds of fire (98% sure I remember the time correctly :)). Plenty of time to get things sorted out before starting to pull fire handles.


Ignition Override 2nd May 2001 09:29

You folks have the big picture. Supposedly, many years ago an Air Force C-9 (DC-9 -30 series) crashed while departing Scott AFB, about 20 miles east of St. Louis, MO. They supposedly had a fire warning (very loud bell plus red lights) at or just after rotation. The new copilot supposedly grabbed and pulled out a fire handle-the handle which was NOT illuminated! This shut off fuel to the good engine and down they went, having lost or about to lose thrust from the engine with the red light in the handle. That's what I remember having heard.

Because of that accident, Douglas recommmended only flying the plane and cancelling any warnings (d****d loud fire bell!) until a minimum of 800' AGL.

One of our pilots had been flying years for an airline, along with part-time AFRES missions in the four-engine C-141 McChord AFB, Tachoma, WA. During an engine fire on rotation in the simulator, the pilot was given an engine fire. The pilot waited until about 1,000' before he called for the Engine Fire Checklist (whatever the title). He told us that as he watched the red lights go on while he flew to a safe altitude, the excited Stan-Eval/Check Airman (or IP) blurted out "aren't you gonna shut it down?" etc, he told the guy that you don't need to grab anything at low altitude which will shutdown a critical component such as an engine. The "line pilot" was not failed for preventing various hands (3 or 4 crewmembers) from snatching fire handles/fuel control levers until safe coordination could take place.

Sometimes certain elements of US military aviation, with the tense combat mentality, in contrast to airline operations, relied years ago (if not still now) upon quick memorized reflex actions (i.e. reject/abort takeoff for ANY malfunction up to "refusal speed" /V1) in stead of pausing for a few moments, which were meant to be a substitute for experience, but this is not meant to be a sweeping generalization or a critique.

411A 2nd May 2001 11:46

Have noted in the past that a few pilots retired from UK carriers and flying on contracts in the "developing world" have insisted that the fire drill be done at 400 feet, irrespective of the standard company procedures, confusing the new F/O's no end. Their reasoning seemed to be that they...."did not want the wing to burn off", or so they said. This is not likely with a pod engine and suspect that this thinking was held over from the Comet days.
Anyone here flown the Comet and care to speculate? Surely the Comet had wing structure to cope with this situation or, maybe not.

fireflybob 2nd May 2001 17:36

Here comes a small voice of dissent!
Why 400' - what's so special about this height?
Everything presupposes that the aircraft is under control and will remain so but tell me a pilot in the world that is going to sit on his hands for long with a fire warning!


m&v 2nd May 2001 18:35

In the good 'olde'days,SOP's stipulated :with a "poss'rate of climb" one could call for the 'eng fire drill'DC8/747. thence the builders(boeing) felt that too much was being done-!too low down! ergo the Industry advocated,that it was safer,to get some height prior to pushing and pulling levers,with the required 'other pilot'confirmation.The'alt'to initiate the drills vary,from 400,-800,

Centaurus 2nd May 2001 19:27

My trusty B737-200 Boeing published PTM (Pilot Training Manual)states:

Methodically accomplish the engine failure checklist procedure after the airplane is under control, gear and flaps have been retracted, and a safe altitude has been attained.
Indications of fire, impending engine break-up etc, should be dealt with as soon as possible. The recall items of the appropriate checklist should be methodically completed by or at the command of the Captain

In this PTM, Boeing does not define what is a "Safe" altitude. But it does advise that indications of fire...should be dealt with asap. Clearly, time is absolutely vital with a blazing engine. From the cockpit you may not be able to see how bad is the fire, therefore it would be wise to consider the worst - and act promptly.

A rushed decision at low height could lead to a serious situation if someone pulls the wrong lever due mis-identification. But then look what happened at the Kegworth B737 accident, where mis-identification took place at cruise altitude.

So back to the question of what constitutes a safe altitude for action following a engine fire after V1?

Each company publishes a figure (such as 400 ft agl) primarily for reasons of crew standardization. Could be that 400 feet is too late to pull the fire handle in some instances, and adequate time in other instances. Horses for courses. Which may be why Boeing (for example)do not specify or recommend a specific height, and leave it to the pilot's judgement of the prevailing circumstances, to decide a "safe" height.

411A 2nd May 2001 19:32

You may be surprised to learn that many US carriers (and others as well) do not commence engine fire drills until the aircraft has completed flap retraction. Have watched many times in the sim (even with experienced crews) early fire drill actions leading to massive height and directional loss, resulting in a sim crash that in three cases, put it out of action for two days.
Far better IMHO to wait awhile. This is true in jets today unlike in the DC-7 days where an engine fire was MUCH more serious. Some it would appear do not keep up with the times.

Bored Cheese 2nd May 2001 19:36

400' is the min height AAL to commence acceleration in an aeroplane operated under Perf A rules. However, most jet operators schedule Segment 3 acceleration and clean-up at a higher altitude for many different reasons. This variation is allowed for in the T/O performance calculations.

Flanker 2nd May 2001 20:57

Recently did an initial and recurrent course at Flight safety Tucson, on both occassions was actively encouraged to consider stopping for an engine fire warning from above V1 and even airborne('Hell if ya gat a long runway.......')Yeah well where in the flight manual are these runway figures published?This I hasten to add is NOT the published F.S view to stopping so why are these guys teaching this rubbish?

Our (company)resident trainer also wanted us to do the fire drill at 1500ft when our SOP's say 400ft.I was the weird Brit with the bad attitude because I wanted to be standard!

I have never started the(fire)drill at other than 400 ft and have never seen any problems if people are properly trained.Boeing mainly and some Airbus.

FireFlyBob I agree, in a real Jet when something's burning that isn't designed to I don't think many people would enjoy the wait!
P.S.When are you coming back to fly proper gear- you obviously miss it? :)

fireflybob 2nd May 2001 21:39

Hi Flanker - just as soon as I can get a job that suits! On the other hand there might be more money in aviation journalism soon!

In a previous life with another company (dare I say it - in the training department!) we decided, after much debate, to specify that 200 ft would be a minimum height for emergency drills etc., so long as aircraft control was not a factor.

Perhaps we should also bear in mind that the type of failure is relevant. If it's just (sic) a fire, the engine may well be developing full thrust in which case there is the asymmetric control problem to deal with as opposed to a severe failure where (perhaps) the engine is producing no thrust at all.

Maybe we all agree that it's all just a question of priorities (Rule 1 "Fly the A/c") but as I stated before I do not think many pilots will delay too long when they get a real fire warning!

I suggest that in many instances just, initially, retarding the thrust lever will go a long way towards redusing the seriousness of an engine fire - the rest of the drills can be completed later on.


Alex Whittingham 2nd May 2001 22:32

JAR 25 states that "Except for gear retraction and automatic propeller feathering, the aeroplane configuration may not be changed, and no change in power or thrust that requires action by the pilot may be made, until the aeroplane is 400 ft above the take-off surface."

Reference at http://www.jaa.nl/jar/jar/jar/jar.25.111.htm

FAR 25 says the same thing.

[This message has been edited by Alex Whittingham (edited 02 May 2001).]

Iz 2nd May 2001 23:21

Flanker, in what type of aircraft was your initial/recurrent training?
Strange folks that they tell you to abort the takeoff after V1. Depends a bit on the type of aircraft you're flying of course. If you're in a King Air on a 13,000 ft long runway, it's a different thing than in a B747. But still, V1 is V1.

Consider that a high speed abort might be more dangerous than taking it into the air. How about brakes catching fire, tires blowing up, losing control of the aircraft, when maybe you would have been in full control if you did a circuit.

If you take it in the air (and the plane should be able to fly on n-1) and come back, you will have the full runway available to come to a complete stop. Plus, your mindset will be different, you will be prepared for your touchdown and deceleration to a stop.

So there are two options:
1. High speed abort
2. Take it in the air

Whichever is the least dangerous course of action is the one that should be taken, I think.

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