DH89A Dragon Rapide, G-AIYR
The aircraft was being used for a number of short consecutive pleasure flights. Following one of these flights the engines were closed down whilst the passengers were disembarked and a new group of passengers embarked. This took approximately 10 minutes. With the port engine running the pilot started the starboard engine and observed flames appearing over the leading edge of the lower starboard wing, outboard of the engine. No fuel priming was carried out to either engine prior to start-up. The pilot closed down both engines and evacuated the passengers and himself. Once he had ensured that the passengers were safely away from the aircraft he assisted ground staff to extinguish the fire. An eye witness saw a long flame shoot out of the exhaust of the starboard engine during start up (the exhaust being on the starboard side of the engine) which started a fire on the rear fabric covered undersurface of the lower starboard wing just outboard of the engine. Examination found no evidence of the fire initiating inside the wing’s structure. No explanation, other than a flame emanating from the engine’s exhaust, could be found to account for the initiation of the fire.