Bailing out of a fighter with engine fire yes or no?

Seems like ALOT of fire will hit you when you bail due to the wind pushing the flames directly over you?
I have noticed in IL-2 you have a certain amount of time before the plane explodes violently.

Probably because it reached the main fuel tanks?
The explosion isn’t small either it usually blows both wings off

Your options are quite limited there.
If there is no chance to cut the fire off of material to burn then you are probably better off bailing out than anything else.

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Wait is that a real question?

@il2crashesnfails, while I always like twitch your videos, this was one question I cud answer without seeing it.

MOG! If you have an engine fire, Get Out!

I can’t find the entire clip, but in the film “Always” the John Goodman character says, " My engine’s on fire! Can you believe that? And I was in such a good mood!"…and then this happens to the Richard Dreyfus’s character…

…the point being that you never know when the plane is going to explode.


Here ya go. :sunglasses:



I think for the brief period of time that you would be exposed (and you are quite fully clothed) that you would be okay, unless there are excessive fuel or oil leaks that would also spray onto you as you exit, potentially leading to you igniting of sorts.

In the case of a single engine plane like the first FW-190 clip, bailing out of wholly preferable to staying in what will become a barbecue.

Referring to the P-38 clip, if you act extremely fast you may be able to have saved it. Cut off the fuel supply to the right engine, and perhaps the ignition too. If the fire goes out (localized to the engine) carry on single engine, you could even risk it if again - just the engine is one fire as it may burn itself out quickly enough once there is nothing to burn (leftover fuel in the lines maybe?). As soon as the wing gets on fire, the wing tanks are a serious risk and I’d bail out immediately as wing damage can and will likely lead to loss of control (surfaces) - after the obvious fuel problem.

I wonder if in the case of the P-38, if there is any sort of cross-feed, and that you could bank left and open the cross feed to drain fuel away from the fire (or would that lead to more room for dangerous fuel vapors and dumping into the tank removing room for vapor would help?).

In the last clip, rolling your plane onto an inverted flat spin is just cruel towards your crewmen!

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Yes it was mentioned by someone to turn engines off and dive to put the fire out?

I think you may be right if fire starts with 190 you need to bail. However, with the p-38 maybe not if you get at it early!

sure i land all the time when on fire with fighters :joy: :joy:

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That’s why modern flight suits, flight gloves, etc, are made out of nomex. In WW2 pretty much all nations tried to have some kind of fire protection in flight gear. Leather does a good job of preventing heat transmission in the short term and blocking direct flame for a few seconds. Probably long enough to bail out. Even if splashed with a burning liquid it will self extinguish. Even a pair of thin leather gloves can be enough if the exposure is fast enough.

Fire resistant cotton also made a lot of appearances in WW2. Even untreated cotton works very well in high intensity but extremely short duration exposure (naval anti-flash gear for example).

So in short, mask on, gloves on, flight suit and jacket zipped, and get out of the cockpit as fast as possible.