Aviation occurrence briefs

In-flight engine fire involving Fairchild Industries SA227-DC, Ballina, NSW, on 7 January 2018

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 7 January 2018, at about 1327 Eastern Daylight-saving Time (EDT), a Fairchild Industries Inc. SA227-DC was conducting training exercises in the circuit area at Ballina, New South Wales, with two crew on board. While on the downwind leg of the circuit, the crew noticed the right engine fire warning light had illuminated on the warning panel. The warning light went out as the crew were about to commence the memory items required for an engine fire warning, and the approach and landing were completed normally.

After parking and shutting the aircraft down, the crew identified smoke stains on the cowls of the right engine. Further inspection revealed evidence of a fire on the upper rear section of the engine. The aircraft was subsequently grounded pending a maintenance inspection.

Maintenance engineers identified a fuel leak from the manifold had ignited resulting in damage to the fuel lines and associated fittings and controls in the immediate vicinity (Figure 1). All damaged parts were replaced and tested prior to the aircraft being returned to service.

Figure 1: Pictures of fire damaged components within the right engine bay

Pictures of fire damaged components within the right engine bay. Source: Operator
Source: Operator

Safety action

As a result of this occurrence, the operator has advised the ATSB that they have taken the following safety action.

Inspections have been completed on all aircraft in the fleet with no other potential fuel system faults identified.

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. A fire during flight has the potential to rapidly propagate unless it is quickly identified and managed, and the aircraft landed at the earliest opportunity.

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.

General details
Date: 07 January 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1327 EDT    
Location   (show map): Ballina    
State: New South Wales    
Release Date: 28 March 2018   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227-DC  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Last update 12 April 2018