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Q & A: Flying On Fire

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Is it possible to fly an airplane or spaceship if it is on fire?
- Cheryl (age 14)
Portsmouth,Va
A:
Cheryl -

There's nothing that says that something can't fly when it's on fire. (In fact, one part of a plane- the fuel in the engines- had better be on fire!) The problem is that when a plane or spaceship is on fire, it usually means that there is something else wrong that caused the fire to start in the first place - for instance, a leaking fuel tank or a broken propeller on an airplane. Airplanes and space shuttles usually don't catch fire if there's nothing wrong with them. And even when they do, it's important that they land right away, since if the fire spread to something like the fuel tanks, it could cause an explosion.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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