NTSB Identification: FTW98LA055.
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Accident occurred Sunday, November 23, 1997 in MIDLOTHIAN, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/30/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-32RT-300T, registration: N21433
Injuries: 1 Minor,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 aircraft was descending from 8,500 feet, when the pilot 'felt the airplane shutter and begin to sound slightly rough.' The pilot observed that the manifold pressure had dropped 'slightly,' and the fuel flow gauge dropped from '21 to 10 gph.' The pilot maintained a 'slow' descent, turned the boost pump on, and switched to a different fuel tank. There was an increase in engine manifold pressure, and the fuel flow increased to 15 gph. Smoke entered the cockpit as the airplane descended through 2,500 feet, and the pilot 'noticed flames coming from the engine cowling vents.' The pilot initiated a forced landing to a grass field. During the landing roll, the left wing struck a tree, and the airplane went through two fences, crossed a road, then came to rest in a plowed field. Examination of the engine revealed that the #2 cylinder fuel injector line had broken, and 'sprayed fuel onto the turbocharger.' Examination of the fuel injector line revealed that the separation was the result of fatigue cracking which initiated from a damaged area on the fuel line. Airworthiness Directive 93-02-05 (which required an inspection of the fuel injector fuel lines) was complied with 39 flight hours before the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: fatigue failure of the #2 cylinder fuel injection line in an area where the line was previously damaged, which resulted in an in-flight engine compartment fire and a forced landing. Related factors were: the previous damage of the fuel injector line, and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing. Full narrative available
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