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.