I am wondering what is the correct sequence of action if there is a fire e.g. during engine starting. Of course I know that there are emergency procedures in each AFM and every single plane is different etc. but I am thinking about "general" set of actions.

Let's say that an aircraft has a fuel shut off valve and mixture control - like a little Cessna. What should we do if an engine catches fire during start-up - shut off the fuel valve and mixture to idle cutoff, or remain mixture and cut off fuel valve (and still try to start the engine)?

Please help me out what are the correct steps.


1 Answer 1


As you said, the "proper" procedure is whatever is in the aircraft's operating handbook. Having said that, there is a general pattern, at least based on a few POHs I have to hand. Note that they all list the procedure as "engine fire on startup"; there's no general "engine fire on the ground" procedure.

The 'generic' steps are:

  1. Continue cranking as usual to pull the fire and fuel into the engine
  2. If the engine starts: let it run for a few minutes then shut down as normal and inspect the aircraft for damage
  3. If the engine doesn't start: open the throttle, cut off the fuel (mixture, fuel pump, and/or fuel cutoff as applicable), and evacuate the aircraft

Here's an example from a Cessna 172S POH (Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine); bold items are memory items:

  1. Ignition Switch -- START, Continue Cranking to get a start which would suck the flames and accumulated fuel into the engine.

If engine starts:

  1. Power -- 1800 RPM for a few minutes.
  2. Engine -- SHUTDOWN and inspect for damage.

If engine fails to start:

  1. Throttle -- FULL OPEN.
  2. Mixture -- IDLE CUT OFF.
  3. Cranking -- CONTINUE.
  4. Fuel Shutoff Valve -- OFF (Pull Full Out).
  5. Auxiliary Fuel Pump Switch -- OFF.
  6. Fire Extinguisher -- ACTIVATE.
  7. Engine -- SECURE. a. Master Switch -- OFF. b. Ignition Switch -- OFF.
  8. Parking Brake -- RELEASE.
  9. Airplane -- EVACUATE.
  10. Fire -- EXTINGUISH using fire extinguisher, wool blanket, or dirt.
  11. Fire Damage -- INSPECT, repair damage or replace damaged components or wiring before conducting another flight.
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ I love it that part of the checklist is to fix the plane before trying to fly it again! I might have forgot that part-- $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2021 at 21:18
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @quietflyer Perhaps that checklist item was written by a lawyer :-) $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Apr 29, 2021 at 21:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why release the parking brake? $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Apr 30, 2021 at 1:58
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @TomMcW So that if the plane has to be towed - either to get a burning plane away from buildings or a dead plane out of the way of traffic (taxiway or runway) - it can be towed easily. $\endgroup$ Apr 30, 2021 at 2:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you hear a "foomp" during cranking, that's a backfire that could create a fire, so you keep cranking and hope it works out. Once you can see smoke/flames swirling around from the cockpit, there is an open gasoline-fed fire under the cowling and it's way too late for cranking to help. You'll just secure the plane and get the hell out without delay and either start fighting it with your little extinguisher, or stand back and watch. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Apr 30, 2021 at 21:37

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