Aviation safety investigations & reports

APU event - Darwin Airport, NT, 11 October 2006, VH-ZXE

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 11 October 2006, at approximately 1420 Central Standard Time, a Boeing Co 767-336 was departing from bay 3 at Darwin Airport, NT for Brisbane Airport, Qld. Just prior to taxi, an auxiliary power unit (APU) fire warning activated with associated indications. The crew carried out the APU FIRE checklist items and the APU fire warning message extinguished and the aural APU fire warning ceased.

Company engineering and Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) personnel performed an external visual inspection of the APU area and advised the crew that there were no signs of a fire from the APU. The aircraft was returned to the departure gate.

The aircraft was returned to service under the provision of the B767 minimum equipment list item applicable for the operation of the aircraft with an inoperative APU.

During overnight maintenance in Sydney, company engineering staff found the remnants of a significantly-charred cloth rag located on top of the aircraft's APU.

A number of safety actions were carried out or proposed by the operator as a result of this incident, including:

  • amendments to the maintenance documentation for clearance closure inspections
  • action to reinforce the responsibility and importance of the clearance closure inspections and to remind maintenance staff of the company's 'Safety over Schedule' principles
  • the review of the suitability of equipment to gain access to all areas of the APU compartment
  • a review of relevant licensed aircraft maintenance engineer training.

In addition, as a result of this incident, the ARFF changed its procedures to include that, until an ARFF response was called to a 'STOP', either an aircraft engineer or ARFF member was required to inspect the relevant aircraft compartment or area where a fire had occurred, an aircraft's fire warning system had activated, or an onboard fire extinguisher had been activated.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 252KB]
General details
Date: 11 October 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0450 UTC    
Location   (show map): Darwin Airport    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Warning devices  
Release date: 31 July 2007   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 767  
Aircraft registration VH-ZXE  
Serial number 24343  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Darwin, NT  
Destination Brisbane, Qld  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL
Last update 18 April 2018