NTSB Identification: FTW95FA184.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 30, 1995 in PORTER, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N7573W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE PILOT NOTICED A 'STRANGE' ODOR AFTER TAKEOFF. SMOKE FILLED THE CABIN AS HE ENTERED THE DOWNWIND LEG FOR A PRECAUTIONARY LANDING. WITNESSES OBSERVED THE AIRPLANE APPROACH TRAILING SMOKE AND TOUCH DOWN 'HARD' COLLAPSING THE LANDING GEAR. FLAMES WERE VISIBLE IN THE CABIN AS THE AIRPLANE SLID TO A STOP. EXAMINATION OF THE AIRFRAME REVEALED AN IN-FLIGHT FIRE ORIGINATED IN THE BAGGAGE COMPARTMENT WHERE AN AUTOMOTIVE BATTERY WAS FOUND WITH A SET OF JUMPER CABLES ATTACHED TO THE TERMINALS. THE OTHER ENDS OF THE CABLES WERE FUSED TOGETHER ON THE BAGGAGE COMPARTMENT FLOOR. THE PILOT KEPT THE BATTERY IN THE BAGGAGE COMPARTMENT FOR USE IN JUMP STARTING THE AIRPLANE, BUT DID NOT RECALL USING IT ON THE DAY OF THE ACCIDENT. ONE WITNESS HEARD REPEATED ATTEMPTS TO START THE AIRPLANE 'ON A WEAK BATTERY,' THEN 'SAW THE BAGGAGE DOOR OPEN AND SOON AFTER THAT THE PLANE WAS STARTED.'

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO IDENTIFY THE UNSAFE CONDITION CREATED BY CARRYING A BATTERY WITH JUMPER CABLES ATTACHED IN THE BAGGAGE COMPARTMENT AND THE ENSUING FIRE IN THE BAGGAGE COMPARTMENT.

Full narrative available

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