NTSB Identification: CHI95LA196.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 23, 1995 in COLUMBIA, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/27/1996
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R, registration: N39620
Injuries: 2 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.

THE PILOT REPORTED THAT HE HEARD A MUFFLED EXPLOSION FROM THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT. THE ENGINE QUIT AND FLAMES STARTED COMING OUT OF THE ENGINE COWLING. THE CABIN BEGAN FILLING WITH SMOKE, AND OIL BEGAN SPEWING ONTO THE WINDSCREEN. THE PILOT SUCCESSFULLY EXECUTED PROCEDURES FOR IN-FLIGHT FIRE AND SMOKE IN THE COCKPIT. HE THEN MADE AN EMERGENCY LANDING IN A FIELD. HOWEVER, BEFORE LANDING, THE PILOT DELAYED GEAR EXTENSION, SO THAT HE COULD REMAIN CLEAR OF OBSTRUCTIONS AND REACH A SUITABLE LANDING AREA. THE GEAR DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO BE FULLY EXTENDED, AND IT COLLAPSED ON TOUCHDOWN. AN EXAMINATION OF THE AIRPLANE REVEALED THAT THE DUAL MAGNETO HAD SEPARATED FROM THE ENGINE. THE BOTTOM MAGNETO HOLD DOWN CLIP WAS FOUND IN THE COWLING, BUT NEITHER THE LOCKWASHER OR NUT WERE RECOVERED. AN EXAMINATION OF THE BOTTOM SURFACE OF THE MAGNETO HOUSING REVEALED TWO LONGITUDINAL MARKINGS (CHIPPED PAINT). THE BOTTOM CLIP HAD A SPACING WHICH MATCHED THE CHIPPED PAINT ON THE MAGNETO HOUSING, AS IF THE CLIP HAD MOVED LONGITUDINALLY RELATIVE TO THE HOUSING. AN EXAMINATION OF THE TOP MAGNETO HOUSING FLANGE, WHICH HAD SEPARATED FROM THE MAGNETO, REVEALED FRACTURE SURFACE MARKINGS INDICATIVE OF FATIGUE CRACKING BEFORE THE ONSET OF OVERSTRESS SEPARATION.

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

A LOOSE (OR MISSING) NUT AND CLIP FOR THE BOTTOM MAGNETO STUD, DUE TO INADEQUATE MAINTENANCE, AND FATIGUE FAILURE OF THE MAGNETO HOUSING FLANGE, WHICH RESTULTED IN AN OIL LEAK, ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRE, AND A FORCED LANDING. A FACTOR RELATING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS: THE NECESSITY FOR THE PILOT TO DELAY EXTENDING THE LANDING GEAR, SO THAT THE AIRPLANE WOULD CLEAR OBSTRUCTIONS AND REACH A FAVORABLE LANDING AREA.

Full narrative available

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