NTSB Identification: CHI96FA171.
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Accident occurred Monday, May 20, 1996 in GREAT BEND, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/02/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 401, registration: N701CJ
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 reported that during the third flight of the day, he noticed a 5 to 6 inch drop in manifold pressure on the left engine. He noticed a brownish substance oozing out of the access panels and along the forward rivet line of the left wing. He secured the left engine. Prior to making an emergency landing at Great Bend, Kansas, 12 miles away, he noticed the right tank fuel gauge was indicating a rapid loss of fuel. Examination of the aircraft revealed that the left engine's inboard exhaust header had broken completely where it was covered by a heat shield and behind a canted bulkhead. Exhaust gases caused extensive heat damage to the engine support structure and firewall, and ruptured the right fuel tank crossfeed fuel line behind the left engine firewall. A 100=hour maintenance inspection had been conducted just 17 flight-hours prior to the accident. AD 75-23-08 R5 had been complied with. The AD requires a visual inspection of the exhaust system, but not a detailed inspection requiring disassembly of the system. As designed, it was not possible to visually inspect the exhaust system without disassembly.

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

the failure of the exhaust header. Additional factors include the visual restrictions which prevented a detailed examination of the exhaust system, and the inadequate inspection procedures required in AD 75-23-08 R5.

Full narrative available

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