Engine Fire on Takeoff

Zapphod Beblebrox

Inventor of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
After having an emergency evacuation actually happen on an aircraft pushing back from the gate in Tampa, US Airways changed it's evacuation procedures for both the front and back of the airplane. The back is sort of "spring loaded" to bail out. It's what they train for and what they do. Pilots do V1 cuts and rejected takeoffs and flight attendants do emergency landing brace and emergency evacuation.

In the Tampa case above, it was a very early morning departure and dark, B737-400, and the engines had just had maintenance. The right engine, was throwing flames back 20+ feet and there was a burning puddle of fuel beneath the right engine cowling. It was dark out and the flight attendants saw a flames behind the engine and the aft flight attendant screamed fire and that initiated a left side of the aircraft evacuation without notifying the cockpit.

The pilots were not in the loop. This was a non-headset push back and the tug driver stopped and got out of the tug and was waiving his hands frantically. The F/O looked back, saw the fire and they shut the engine down and blew the bottles. There was no fire warning in the cockpit. The front crew ran the checklist anyway and when they called to the back the airplane was 2/3 empty via the left over-wing and front and rear exits.

There were passengers milling around on the ramp. It was a real goat rodeo. No one was seriously hurt.

The company reviewed the procedures, failures and came up with a new plan for evacuations. To the original posters scenario, the check list memory items for an aborted takeoff of any type is immediately after the airplane is stopped the captain gets in the PA and says "This is the Captain, remain seated -remain seated- remain seated." The front end gets the configuration set, engines shut down, fire bottles pulled, and fired, speed brakes retracted, and confers with the lead flight attendant or next in line F/A and if evacuation is warranted, the Captain picks up the PA and calls, "This is the captain, Evacuate, Evacuate, Evacuate."

If it is a "do your own thing" evacuation it's a circus and you could sell tickets. Basically, don't attempt this unless the front and the back crews are all singing from the same sheet music. Even then it's a goat rodeo.
 

pwttogfk

Well-Known Member
This is where I like my plane’s evac checklist…it has you blow the bottle if fire’s suspected before battery goes off. Flows nicely from RTO to evac to beers at hotel bar.
 
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