NTSB Identification: FTW97IA222.
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Scheduled 14 CFR operation of SIMMONS AIRLINES (D.B.A. AMERICAN EAGLE )
Incident occurred Saturday, June 14, 1997 in DALLAS, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/2001
Aircraft: Aerospatiale ATR-72-12, registration: N438AT
Injuries: 32 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.
The ATR-72-12 transport airplane was at 5,000 feet MSL when the #2 engine fire warning light illuminated. After shutting down the #2 engine and actuating the fire extinguishing system, the crew executed a single engine landing followed by a normal taxi to the ramp and normal passenger debarkation. Inspection of the P&W 127 series engine showed that a fuel transfer tube adjacent to the #2 nozzle was misaligned and 'backed out' of its retaining clip. Fuel streaking and fire damage were evident down the right side of the engine from the #2 nozzle downward along the fuel nozzle ring assembly. The incident occurred 3.4 hours after the fuel nozzles, retaining clips, and transfer tubes were replaced during maintenance on the #2 engine. The engine manufacturer had published several service bulletins addressing the potential of incorrectly installing the retaining clips and recommending that existing clips be replaced with stronger lock plates that provide a positive locking mechanism to avoid misalignment during installation. The manufacturer issued a Service Bulletin in October 1994 and Transport Canada issued an AD in November 1996, both citing how the retaining clips could be installed 'out of position' and recommending that operators use the newer lock plate. The FAA had published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on July 17, 1995, addressing the aforementioned issues. FAA AD 98-14-02 was published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1998. The AD was similar to the Canadian AD issued on November 19, 1996.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: the engine fire during descent resulting from a loose, leaking fuel transfer tube due to improper installation and alignment of the transfer tube's retaining clip. Contributing factors were the inadequate design of the clamp, the failure of the operator to comply with the recommendations of the manufacturer's Service Bulletin (SB), and the failure of the FAA to issue an Airworthiness Directive to mandate the manufacturer's SB. Full narrative available
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