NTSB Identification: MIA95FA115.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, April 21, 1995 in QUINCY, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/08/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N3995R
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

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 WAS HEARD TO PERFORM AN ENGINE RUN-UP BEFORE DEPARTURE. THE FLIGHT THEN DEPARTED WITH FULL FUEL TANKS AND ACCORDING TO WITNESSES, CLIMBED TO ABOUT 200-300 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL. A WITNESS NEAR THE CRASH SITE OBSERVED BLACK SMOKE TRAILING THE ENGINE AREA, AND ANOTHER WITNESS HEARD THE ENGINE 'BACKFIRING AND SPUTTERING.' THE AIRPLANE COLLIDED WITH TREES THEN THE GROUND WHILE DESCENDING, AND A POST CRASH FIRE OCCURRED. EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT REVEALED SEVERE (FIRE) DAMAGE TO THE FIREWALL ADJACENT TO THE 2 ELECTRIC FUEL PUMPS AND GASCOLATOR, BUT NO EVIDENCE OF PREIMPACT (INTERNAL) ENGINE FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION WAS FOUND. THE EXAMINATION ALSO REVEALED THAT THE #1 CYLINDER BAFFLE TUBE HAD FAILED CIRCUMFERENTIALLY ALONG A WELD AT THE END PLATE OF THE MUFFLER WITH EVIDENCE OF STRESS CORROSION CRACKING. ALSO, CARBON MONOXIDE WAS DETECTED IN THE PILOT AND TWO OF THE PASSENGERS; ALTHOUGH, NO EVIDENCE OF SOOT DEPOSITION OR BURNING OF THE LARYNX WAS NOTED IN ANY OF THE FIVE OCCUPANTS.

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

AN UNDETERMINED FUEL SYSTEM PROBLEM THAT RESULTED IN A FUEL LEAK, AN ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRE, AND A PARTIAL LOSS OF ENGINE POWER. A FACTOR RELATING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS: THE LACK OF SUITABLE TERRAIN FOR A FORCED LANDING. AN EXHAUST LEAK FROM THE FRACTURE OF AN IMPROPERLY WELDED BAFFLE TUBE MAY HAVE BEEN THE SOURCE OF IGNITION FOR THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRE.

Full narrative available

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