NTSB Identification: ANC97LA041.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 27, 1997 in NOME, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-31-350, registration: N4105D
Injuries: 3 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 airplane was on a short final approach to land when the pilot noticed flames coming from the left engine nacelle. He turned off the fuel to the left engine, and made an uneventful landing. The fire continued to burn after landing, and the local fire department extinguished the fire. Postaccident inspection disclosed a leaking engine driven fuel pump. The pump was leaking where the relief valve cover is fastened to the fuel pump body. The screws which fasten the cover to the pump were found to be finger tight. Once the screws were refastened to the recommended torque values, the leak stopped. Other, new, fuel pumps of the same type were tested for leaks. Four of the seven pumps tested leaked, and were found to have relief valve cover screws which were under torqued. This type of fuel pump has an extensive history of leaks, and service bulletins had been issued reference inspection and refastening of the cover screws. The accident airplane was in compliance with the factory service bulletin(s). The fuel pump manufacturer and the engine manufacturer have issued new service bulletins which address repetitive inspections of the fuel pump.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: a fuel leak from an engine driven fuel pump which initiated an engine fire, and the fuel pump manufacturer's inadequate quality control of the fuel pump. Full narrative available
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