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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 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory Occurrence type: Warning devices 
Release date: 31 July 2007 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
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
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
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Last update 18 April 2018