NTSB Identification: ATL95LA091.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, April 26, 1995 in HUNTSVILLE, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/1995
Aircraft: BEECH S-35, registration: N67HC
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A COCKPIT FIRE OCCURRED DURING AN INSTRUMENT APPROACH TO THE HUNTSVILLE INTERNATIONAL-JONES AIRPORT, IN HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA. WHITE SMOKE WAS OBSERVED COMING FROM THE TOP OF THE INSTRUMENT PANEL WHILE THE AIRPLANE WAS APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILES FROM THE AIRPORT. MOMENTS LATER, THE SMOKE TURNED BLACK AND WAS ORIGINATING FROM UNDER THE INSTRUMENT PANEL. INVESTIGATION INTO THE ACCIDENT REVEALED THAT A LOOSE WIRE, LEFT INSTALLED AFTER EQUIPMENT WAS REMOVED FROM THE INSTRUMENT PANEL, SHORTED BETWEEN AN EXPOSED TERMINAL ON THE AVIONICS BUS RELAY AND THE OIL PRESSURE LINE. ARCING OCCURRED, MELTING A HOLE IN THE OIL LINE, LOCATED ABOVE THE AVIONICS BUS RELAY. THERE WAS EVIDENCE OF EXTREME HEAT IN THE SAME AREA. THE OIL WAS RELEASED FROM THE OIL LINE, WHICH SPILLED ONTO, AND FUELED, THE FIRE. MAINTENANCE HAD BEEN PERFORMED ON THE AIRCRAFT TWO DAYS PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT TO INSTALL A NEW AUTOPILOT SYSTEM. DURING THE MAINTENANCE WORK, AN OLD AUTOPILOT WAS REMOVED FROM THE AIRCRAFT. COMPONENTS OF THE AUTOPILOT WERE REMOVED FROM BEHIND THE INSTRUMENT PANEL.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

A loose wire which shorted between an exposed terminal on the avionics bus relay and the oil line to the oil pressure gage, and the failure of maintenance personnel to tie up loose wires.

Full narrative available

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