Fast taxi leads to a wheel brake fire

General Aviation News will often reprint excerpts from US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident reports, including one dated June 2011 about a Cirrus SR22 having a wheel brake fire while taxing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

According to the pilot, ATC instructed him to taxi to the runway where he initiated a takeoff checklist. The pilot increased the engine rpm per the checklist, the airplane moved forward slightly and he applied the brakes. The right brake pedal then lost pressure and Cirrus started an un-commanded 180° turn to the left. At that point, the pilot shut the engine and noticed the right wheel was on fire.

A subsequent look at data from the aircraft’s multi-function display revealed that while taxiing, engine power had reached 1,100 to 1,900 rpm and the ground speed was 30 mph. According to the aircraft’s Pilot Operating Handbook, the maximum recommended continuous engine power for taxiing is 1,000 rpm. In addition, the Pilot Operating Handbook warned of wheel brake damage or fire if the engine power is exceeded and proper braking procedures are not observed during taxiing.

A closer look at the right brake assembly revealed that portions of it were either heavily fire damaged or destroyed while an inspection of the left brake assembly revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction. Hence, the pilot’s excessive engine rpm and speed during taxi along with subsequent braking resulting in a wheel brake fire was ruled as a probable cause of the mishap.

It should also be mentioned that someone named Vaughn S. posted this rather telling comment on the General Aviation News excerpt of the accident report:

This a classic, the pilot probably drives his car over 80 mph in a 55mph speed zone, What’s the hurry? basic common sense rule, you really don’t have to be any where.

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