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Another F/A-18 Hornet Catches Fire On A Carrier

by John Reed on April 15, 2011

For the second time in less than a month, an F/A-18C Hornet suffered an engine fire aboard an aircraft carrier. On April 11, the pilot of the Hornet shown bursting into flames brought the plane aboard the USS Carl Vinson after an engine caught fire following a touch and go landing. He shut that engine down and brought the plane home with the working engine and, well, you see what happened upon landing. No word yet on the cause of the fire. We’re glad that no one was injured in this incident. Well done to the firefighting team.

Keep in mind that on March 30, an engine exploded on Marine Corps Hornet about to take off from the USS John C. Stennis, injuring 11 deck crew and wrecking the aircraft.

This latest Hornet fire comes the same week that top Navy and Marine Corps aviation officials said that keeping the older F/A-18s in safe flying condition was one of their most serious challenges. The jets, built in the 1980s and 1990s, were designed to fly for 6,000 hours. However, the services are trying to keep them in service through 10,000 flight hours due to delays in the delivery of their replacement, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Musson April 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

Those firefighters have guts! Well done!

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Sanem April 15, 2011 at 10:37 am

who ever said the Navy doesn't know how to play the political game? :D
looks like they're pushing for more F-18E/Fs, or U(C)AVs?

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old chief April 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

The fire fighters did a superb job protetcting the crew first and then putting out a difficult to reach fire in 2.5 mins .what superb traing and bravery .not politics!

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Oblat April 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

yep because the replacement F35 isn't going arrive anytime reasonable.

So now they are going to push for more F-18s together with all the money that is being thrown away on the JSF.

The navy needs to be told that they made their bed with the JSF and now they are just going to have to sleep in it.

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Jason April 15, 2011 at 11:56 am

It seems that the fire fighting response while effective seemed a bit slow and from the wrong direction. The firefighter was in the front while the fire was in the back. Wouldn't it be more effective if the fire suppressant came from the deck of the ship near the plane. My yard sprinkler system comes to mind.

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Guest April 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Slow and wrong direction? They had water/foam flowing within a few seconds of the plane stopping.. That's not what I would call slow. The initial line came from the front and was meant to keep the fire from spreading toward the nose and the pilot. Once the fire was contained the second line came in from the side for the knock down.

I guess they could turn on the salt-water countermeasures. but that probably doesn't flow 300gpm to a directed nozzle.

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Joe Schmoe April 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm

In case you didn't notice, there is wind coming from the front caused by the carrier movement. That is why you need to attack it from the front.

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GUEST April 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

With 25 or 30 knots of wind coming down the deck, fighting the fire from down wind would be like trying to piss into a gale. Not to effective and the fire would be right in your face.

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STemplar April 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm

To say nothing of the fact the idea is to protect the pilot first and get them out.

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USN AD Ret April 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Don't quit your day job.

The one thing I saw made me think the pilot was a perhaps a little slow to pull the Fuel Shut Off Handles. But, it's probably hard to think when you have a that screaming in your brain bucket.

The boys fron crash and salvage were right there pronto and the second attack team was also there pretty quick. (I'd bet that team had some CVW members in too. Pretty quick get together for as pick-up game.)

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Jacob April 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm

It didn't blow up like the Forrestal, so I'd say they did their job right.

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John Moore April 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm

"He shut that engine down and brought the plane home with the working engine"

Wonder what f-35 pilots will do when that happens?

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Guest April 18, 2011 at 8:10 am

Well since they wont be using GE engines I guess we'll never know.

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NashKlein April 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I know it's hard to tell from the video but did anyone else think it looked like a fuel leak that ignited?

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Lance April 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Wow maybe its time to get ride of the older none-super F-18s. Either get a new plane or get the F-35 ready the F-18s time is up.

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GUEST April 16, 2011 at 2:39 am

There is nothing wrong with the legacy Hornet. I read on another site that it was on a post maintenance check flight which usually is done for an engine change or control system repair. The fire looked like it was external of the engine which woukd indicate a fuel leak in the engine bay. A fuel line could have been installed incorrectly ( O ring maybe or not tightened correctly? I have seen both). Could have just been a ruptured fuel line (Seen that too) Poor maintenance or a defective part is not a good reason to get rid of all FA-18c's.

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Nadnerbus April 15, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Nice job by the crew.

I always wondered, half the phones out there have HD cameras built in to them, why is the Navy still using thirty year old flight deck cameras? Or is something lost in translation? Maybe they need to be a certain level of rugged to be used?

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