NTSB Identification: ATL96FA095.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 23, 1996 in CLANTON, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/28/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-250, registration: N6937Y
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.

During cruise flight at 6,000 feet, the pilot reported to air traffic control that he had an engine fire and needed to land immediately. Subsequently, the airplane's left wing separated in-flight, and the airplane crashed in an uncontrolled descent. An investigation revealed that the number six cylinder on the left engine had separated in-flight. Metallurgical examination of the cylinder revealed a fatigue fracture. The fatigue originated at a corrosion pit between the cylinder's cooling fins. There was evidence that fire erupted and spread to the left wing fuel tank, leading to separation of the wing. Also, heat streaking was noted on the left engine cowling and left horizontal stabilizer. Aircraft records showed that the engine had accumulated 1,682 hours of flight time since it was last overhauled on 5/19/75.

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

corrosion pitting of the number six cylinder on the left engine, and subsequent fatigue fracture and separation of the cylinder, which led to an engine compartment fire, wing fire, and an in-flight separation of the left wing.

Full narrative available

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