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Thread: What would you do?

  1. #1

    Default What would you do?

    Disclaimer: I have had this happen to me before and please realize there is a “startle factor” when you realize what is happening.

    I was a couple a planes rows over underneath our Cub dashboard working on a issue when I hear a C-150 crank up on a very cold day. it cranks, cranks then fires up for a few sputters then cranks. Then sounds like it ran the battery down. I ungracefully pull myself from underneath the panel and glanced at the plane that tried to start. I see a cowl landing light on, my vision was still messed up from having no readers and being upside down. As my vision came too it was no landing light. The bracket carb element was on fire and dripping to the ground. The two occupants were still inside and had no idea about said flames. I got out and started to wave my arms and yelling to get their attention. Grabbed my extinguisher and ran to their plane. I was about 15 yards from the plane with the pin pulled and ready to spray. By then the flames were higher than the spinner and they bailed out fast.

    Sooooooo, what would you do when you pile out of a plane and realize there is a full on induction fire going?

    A.) Scream curse words grab installed extinguisher and put fire out

    B.) Do an Irish jig dance, then extinguish said fire.

    C.) Walk away....insurance has got this covered.

    D.) None of the above.

    If you answered D.) None of the above that is the correct answer. Pertaining to the described day in question.

    The correct answer is : Both jump out of airplane, dance around holding you heads for 3 seconds then.................both get on Cell Phones.

    One guy had a worried face not saying anything to his phone the other had already dialed the fire department. While watching plane on fire. I put the fire out. It wasn’t that bad anyway. They just looked at me and said nothing. I laughed and said “ I’m pretty sure it’s out” then walked back to my project. Anyway after the fire trucks came. One of the guys came over and said he was student pilot. Poor guy was SUPER GRACIOUS and thanked me to no end. I talked with him for a bit and tried to console him over what happened. He offered to replace my Halon extinguisher. I told him not to worry about it. He said their plane had an extinguisher but by the time he ran back to dig it out I already had put the fire out. It’s just a small Halon extinguisher, right? Easy?

    Till I rolled into Stoddards and Jane told me how much that small extinguisher costs. I began foaming at the mouth and paid the bill.

    Then I was thinking maybe the student pilot should replace my extinguisher.

    But then a smart ass friend said “Ya, know they didn’t force you to use YOUR extinguisher. You did that on your own.” What an ass!

    But, then I remembered a young teenage pilot 32 years ago that caught a plane on fire, tried to use the installed, uncharged,
    out of date inop extinguisher then resorted to trying to pack snow into carb intake. A nearby pilot bailed out of his plane and used his HUGE red extinguisher to put the flames out. Accompanied with a barrage of expletives and it was the first time someone called me a jackwagon. Even thou, I was very thankful the guy was there to help.


    This whole boring story isn’t to poke fun at the guys that caught the plane on fire at Merrill East Golf Ramp. But a reminder that sometimes things come full circle in life. I just soaked up the cost of the extinguisher with a smile. That student pilot could use that cash for hours.

  2. #2

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    Understanding how the primer system works in you plane and the dangers of pumping the throttle without the prop turning go a long way in preventing the problem. If it does happen don't stop cranking the engine. You can often suck the flame back into the carb if the battery holds. If the battery gos dead now you need to have the fire extinguisher mounted in an easy to reach spot, The little Halon ones do work good. The big problem is that lots of pilots have been trained to give the throttle a few pumps before they start cranking the engine, lots have never had a problem or seen a carb fire so they say it is not really a problem. They are right, until, they are not. Over the years I have used my extinguishers on cars, trucks, and planes. I figure the price is not that bad and usually worth the story you get to tell when it is all over.
    DENNY

  3. #3

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    I was pretty impressed on the amount of agent that came out of that 1.25lb cold soaked bottle. Makes me a bit more confident in its abilities.

  4. #4
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Getting back to your question, I'm sure I would have done exactly what you did. And I commend you for it. I mean, I couldn't just stand there with a fire extinguisher in my hand and watch a plane burn....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Getting back to your question, I'm sure I would have done exactly what you did. And I commend you for it. I mean, I couldn't just stand there with a fire extinguisher in my hand and watch a plane burn....
    Having been in both situations (my craft with flames and the guy two planes down with flames);

    - I found that somewhere in the process, I would do the "Irish Jig" for what I recall seemed like forever, but must have actually been a pretty short period of time.
    - When it was my craft (pre-12, and pre-nice convenient halon), fortunately, I bailed out grabbing the firex on the way, then did the Irish Jig, then sprayed into the cowlflap for a bit, followed up by some spray straight into the nose. By intent or neglect, the fire got put out.

    - when it was the other guy's craft, my Irish Jig moment was after running over waving my hands, then "Oh yeah, I have a firex in the truck".....a bit of running back and forth, then managed to calm down and spray appropriately. That one (strange how one remembers it from 35+ years on) was unusual: the other guy was jumping his a/c battery (behind the seats, C180 I believe) when something sparked and some gear stowed in the back caught on fire. It was straightforward, but a bit unnerving to maneuver around the door, then around the rear seat, point the nozzle and spray. Fortunately, the guy was on top of it enough to disconnect the jumper cables from the charging vehicle while I was getting the firex.

    Hopefully, I'd have the requisite presence of mind to respond appropriately (i.e. put out the fire) now should either situation arise.
    Back in AK

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    Ever been one of the 1st to roll up on a bad car wreck? Of course someone needs to dial 911, but if you get time to look around you'll notice EVERYONE has a phone out. Some are talking, some texting, and some are taking video. None of them are helping the injured.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa12drvr View Post
    Having been in both situations (my craft with flames and the guy two planes down with flames);

    - I found that somewhere in the process, I would do the "Irish Jig" for what I recall seemed like forever, but must have actually been a pretty short period of time.
    - When it was my craft (pre-12, and pre-nice convenient halon), fortunately, I bailed out grabbing the firex on the way, then did the Irish Jig, then sprayed into the cowlflap for a bit, followed up by some spray straight into the nose. By intent or neglect, the fire got put out.

    - when it was the other guy's craft, my Irish Jig moment was after running over waving my hands, then "Oh yeah, I have a firex in the truck".....a bit of running back and forth, then managed to calm down and spray appropriately. That one (strange how one remembers it from 35+ years on) was unusual: the other guy was jumping his a/c battery (behind the seats, C180 I believe) when something sparked and some gear stowed in the back caught on fire. It was straightforward, but a bit unnerving to maneuver around the door, then around the rear seat, point the nozzle and spray. Fortunately, the guy was on top of it enough to disconnect the jumper cables from the charging vehicle while I was getting the firex.

    Hopefully, I'd have the requisite presence of mind to respond appropriately (i.e. put out the fire) now should either situation arise.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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