Aviation occurrence briefs

Engine fire warning involving a Fairchild Industries SA227-AC, 37 km south of Coffs Harbour, NSW, on 8 July 2019

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 8 July 2019, at about 1800 Eastern Standard Time, a Fairchild Industries SA227-AC departed Coffs Harbour, New South Wales (NSW) to conduct a charter freight flight to Port Macquarie, NSW. The pilot was the only occupant on board.

During cruise at 9,000 ft, approximately 37 km south of Coffs Harbour, the pilot noticed the right engine fire warning lights had illuminated on the warning panel and immediately commenced the memory items required for an engine fire warning. The pilot shut down the right engine, feathered[1] the propeller to reduce drag and shortly after, the engine fire warning lights extinguished. The pilot then conducted a return to Coffs Harbour.

After landing, the aircraft was taxied to the parking bay and shut down. Fire services attended and conducted a heat test on the right engine using heat-sensing cameras. No excessive heat was recorded. The pilot then opened up the engine nacelle[2] to visually inspect the engine. The inspection did not detect any heat damage.

Engineering inspection

The engineering inspection did not reveal any faults with the engine. The fire detector was repositioned with better clearance from surrounding assemblies. The operator has advised that they will be undertaking a feasibility assessment of an enhanced engine wiring harness replacement program.

Safety message

This incident highlights the importance of flight crews maintaining awareness of all system states and being prepared to act at the first sign of trouble. Although there was no in-flight fire in this incident, the crew followed procedures and commenced memory items for the fire warning ensuring a safe outcome.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.



  1. Feathering: the rotation of propeller blades to an edge-on angle to the airflow to minimise aircraft drag following an in-flight engine failure or shutdown.
  2. Nacelle: a housing, separate from the fuselage that holds engines, fuel, or equipment on an aircraft.
General details
Date: 08 July 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1800 EST    
Location   (show map): 37 KM south of Coffs Harbour Airport    
State: New South Wales    
Release Date: 27 August 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227-AC  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Coffs Harbour, New South Wales  
Destination Port Macquarie, New South Wales  
Last update 27 August 2019