en-Gauge Fire and Life Safety Blog

Fire Extinguishers Control Cockpit Fire on Transcontinental Flight

Posted by Brendan McSheffrey on 3/25/11 10:58 AM

There are a bunch of travellers happy that the fire extinguishers on their flight from New York to Los Angeles worked properly.  According to the New York Post:


Flight 27, on its way from Kennedy to Los Angeles on May 16, had just leveled off at 36,000 feet when 
cockpit_fire_extinguisherits pilots heard a "hissing sound and saw smoke."

 "The captain stated that, ‘within a couple of seconds,’ a fire started and that he saw flames emanating from the top of the glare shield," the NTSB said.

The smoke wasn’t thick, but it was acrid, the pilots reported.

Capt. Boyd Hammack emptied the cockpit fire extinguisher on the blaze. But that wasn’t enough — the fire erupted again, and Hammack had to call a flight attendant for another fire extinguisher.

As Hammack and his and first officer steered for an emergency landing at Dulles airport near Washington, Hammack’s windshield suddenly cracked.

That forced the first officer to take over the controls. He landed the plane safely, and no one was hurt.


That must have been a scary time for the passengers on-board.  With so many lives on the line and each relying on the efficacy of the fire extinguishers on board, it reminds us that there is no reason these critical life safety devices are not electronically monitored.  Add in the threat of terrorism, and monitoring all extinguishers on commercial planes should be mandatory.  It just makes sense.

Topics: Fire Extinguisher, Electronic Monitoring Fire Extinguisher, Electronic Monitoring of Fire Extinguishers, Cockpit Fire Extinguisher, Electronic Monitoring