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2 Answers

Carb. Heat On or Off

Asked by: 714 views
Aircraft Systems, Student Pilot

When we simulate engine fires the checklist doesn't say anything about carb. heat, so I assume it doesn't make a huge difference. I usually put it on during the the exercise, because we're pulling the power out for the decent. If it was real life though would there be any benefit to leaving it off? 

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2 Answers



  1. Eric H on Jan 11, 2017

    Great question. So first and foremost ALWAYS follow the engine and aircraft manufacturers guidance and check list when it comes to Emergency Procedures (EP).

    When there is a fire, there are three things that need to be in place: 1) ignition source 2) oxygen 3) something to burn (fuel). If you take any of those 3 elements out of the “fire triangle” your fire will go out.

    For the purposes of your question, the carburetor heat likely won’t matter because you will be removing the fuel source (in this case AvGas) to prevent the fire from spreading. With no fuel to the engine (mixture to idle/cutoff) the carburetor heat won’t be working since the engine is off.

    With that being said, the next time you can see your airplanes engine (cowling off) ask your instructor (or mechanic) to point out the major components on the engine. Pay close attention to where the carburetor is in relation to the actual engine. Also pay close attention to where it is in relation to the firewall and the relative wind that you will be flying in. Think about what would happen if the fire moved into the carburetor, how would you get that extinguished in flight as you are trying to descend to land? Also, if the carburetor heat is on, what does that do to the fuel/air mixture? All things to think about as you are learning to manage the aircraft systems.

    One final thought, when practicing your EP try and drive out to the field that you “would have landed in” had it been a real emergency. It can be a great learning experience to see what the field looks like at ground level instead of 500-1000 feet above the ground.

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  2. RachelAnn on Jan 15, 2017

    Thanks that makes since!

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