Can anyone explain why and how flames have shot out of the left engine of this F/A-18, whose left engine was apparently not generating power, the picture is here. And the source website where I got the infomation from is here. The accident happened in Lethbridge, Canada in the July of 2010. Below is a comment posted on the forum in response to the post of the crash on ED forums:

It was a fuel control problem (sticky piston) on the right engine, isn't #1 the left? The open nozzle of the left engine indicates that it's either a) at idle or b) at full power/burner which it was in this case as the pilot was executing a high alpha pass at the time.

The comment about the left engine not hasving power is here:

The left engine has the nozzle fully open, showing that #1 engine was developing no power.

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    $\begingroup$ Looks like the right engine to me. $\endgroup$ Sep 29, 2017 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ @GregTaylor it is the left, it crashed with its canopy/cockpit facing the camera $\endgroup$
    – anonymous
    Sep 29, 2017 at 10:26
  • $\begingroup$ It looks like this incident involving a Canadian CF-18, considering the angle of the picture and the runway signs. There is also this video of the crash. Apparently the right engine was out of fuel and the Pilot was applying afterburner. Could be a leak of fuel that was ignited upon impact. Other users might know more about it. $\endgroup$ Sep 29, 2017 at 12:00

1 Answer 1


Fuel has to reach the engine to make it work, so there is a path (pipes) available for the fuel to get from the tanks into the engines.

Looking (*) at the video linked by Pierre Chevallier it looks like some fuel got pressed out of the tanks, into the engine(s) and out the engine nozzle, and in the process it got ignited.

I cannot say why the fuel got only in one engine, I can guess that the valves on the fuel lines were in different positions.

(*) I suggest using the option to visualize at x0.25 speed, starting at the 0:30 mark

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    $\begingroup$ From the report: The engine malfunction was likely the result of a stuck ratio boost piston in the right engine main fuel control (MFC) . It seems your guess is right. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Sep 29, 2017 at 14:02

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