The Blue Panorama flight 1504 had uncontained engine fire just before V1 during take-off. The pilot continued the take-off and succesfully landed the plane with one engine. In the TEDx talk the pilot Maurizio Guzzetti explained that he thought that if he had followed the official protocol he would have aborted the take-off and the heavy sidewind would have pushed the heat from engine fire to the cabin and caused the cabin to catch fire and result in casualties. Instead he decided to take the plane to air, turn the plane around and land with the other side to the wind before stopping the plane. Note that the plane was over the maximum landing weight and no ability to dump fuel.

Do you think that this was a real threat and if so, what should a pilot do with similar fire starting with slower speed? Assuming the fire cannot be contained and heavy side-wind is there a reason no believe the cabin will not burn, too? However, if you're a lot before V1, it really wouldn't make sense to try to complete take-off with only one engine.

The TEDx talk: Collaborating with machines at high altitude and speed | Maurizio Guzzetti | TEDxModenaSalon

A well made animation about the accident: Bursting into Flames Just Before Takeoff in Rome | Season Finale [Real Audio]


1 Answer 1


If it happens at a slower speed as you ask, then maneuvering the plane on the runway as it stops would help, even if it's only a 45-degree turn. You might wonder why not do a complete 180 if the runway width allows; that turn is slow and takes valuable time, while a fully loaded plane can theoretically be evacuated in under 90 seconds with only half the exits. It's a smaller risk considering the low-energy abort. A high-energy abort adds the risk of the brakes starting another fire.

As to Flight 1504, there's no need for opinions, as the final report did not fault the commander's decision:

The management of the failure by the flight crew was carried out professionally and in compliance with the established procedures. The same applies to the air traffic controllers, who assisted the aircraft with professionalism and providing maximum cooperation. The commander decided not to interrupt the take-off run despite the right engine fire warning having intervened a few knots before V1, thus exercising the expected discretion and taking into consideration all the available elements that favored this decision. [translated from Italian; emphasis added]

Speaking of Go shortly before V1, it is advisable for tire failures due to the compromised braking:

tire go
Source: Pilot Guide to Takeoff Safety - FAA (PDF)

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ 100%. Our SOP is to train and practice turning toward the fire-side when coming to a stop on an abort as it helps survivability. Whether to take a fire airborne is another issue... $\endgroup$
    – Arkhem
    Feb 8, 2021 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ Guys do you mean you turn the fire-side in to the wind, or away from the wind? Or does this have nothing to do with the/any prevailing breeze and I misunderstand you ? (I'mn confused by the phrase "turning toward the fire-side", sorry!) $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    Feb 8, 2021 at 16:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Fattie: If the right engine is on fire, it means turn right as the plane stops. Which means if the wind is from straight ahead or the left, you have now shielded the engine and it's now also downwind. If the wind is from the right, you've now increased the distance the flames have to travel to reach the fuselage. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Feb 8, 2021 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ Clearly the capt had mentally thought through and drilled those contingencies over the years even if it wasn't covered in recurrent training, which gave him the ability to make a good call with likely not more than half a second of deliberation. There is quite a bit of fudge factor in the calculations, so making the GO decision a few knots below V1 wouldn't have increased the risks of the single engine departure beyond what they were that much, and probably not at all if the available field length was significantly longer than the minimum required for that takeoff. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Feb 8, 2021 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if they would have found him at fault if the outcome had been worse.. It seems foreseeable that there would be a crosswind, and a 50% chance of it being from the side of the engine fire, so it should be contemplated in training and/or procedures. My brother (ATC) told me a story about an Air Canada flight which aborted from a blown tire right at V1. He stopped with the main wheels on the runway and the nosewheel on the grass. He told my brother "those numbers really work". $\endgroup$
    – Deepstop
    Oct 21, 2022 at 12:10

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