NTSB Identification: NYC97LA068.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Thursday, April 03, 1997 in BUFFALO, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/24/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 650, registration: N553AC
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.

While being vectored for the final approach in visual conditions, at night, the flight crew lost radio contact with the control tower and smelled smoke aboard the airplane. They continued the approach and landed, and after reaching their parking space, were notified by ground personnel of flames penetrating the top of the aft fuselage between the engines. The fire was extinguished by airport fire fighting personnel. Postaccident investigation found a hydraulic return line in the aft equipment bay had evidence of electrical arcing and a small hole through which fluid could escape. An 115-volt electrical line used to heat the horizontal stabilizer also had evidence of rubbing on its surface. In addition to the hydraulic fluid, a pressurized fuel line to the APU was damaged by the fire and leaking fuel. A test simulating an electrical line arcing with a leaking hydraulic line resulted in a fire during each of the three tests. The production standards that Cessna used did not specify a minimum space between electrical lines and flammable fluid lines. The FAA had certified the airplane without requiring Cessna to specify a minimum spacing between electrical lines and flammable fluid lines.

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

A combination hydraulic fluid and fuel-fed fire which originated from electrical arcing, due to the lack of an adequate production standard from Cessna for the separation of flammable fluid lines and electrical lines. A factor was the lack of oversight from the FAA, which allowed Cessna to space the flammable fluid lines and electrical lines at too close a position.

Full narrative available

Index for Apr1997 | Index of months