NTSB Identification: ANC97LA055.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Saturday, April 12, 1997 in QUINHAGAK, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-32, registration: N9000N
Injuries: 6 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 air taxi pilot/company owner was taking off from his base of operations airport in rural Alaska with a new hire pilot and four passengers. About one mile from the airport, the pilot and passengers saw and smelled smoke. The pilot immediately returned and landed. At the pilot's request, the new hire pilot exited the airplane, checked the engine oil dipstick for security, and then reentered the cockpit. The pilot made another takeoff. Shortly after takeoff, smoke began to fill the cockpit, and flame was visible coming from the engine cowling. An emergency landing was made just off the airport on a small island. The occupants of the airplane extinguished the fire with water and a small fire extinguisher. Postaccident inspection disclosed a loose exhaust manifold and fire damage in the vicinity of the exposed exhaust ports. Nuts which affix the exhaust manifold to the engine were found in the bottom of the cowling. The airplane had maintenance performed about one month previously which necessitated the removal of the left manifold.

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

A disconnected exhaust manifold collector, improper maintenance of the airplane by company maintenance personnel, and the pilot's poor judgement in electing to initiate another flight after observing smoke in the cockpit.

Full narrative available

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