NTSB Identification: MIA98IA035.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR operation of FINE AIR SERVICES, INC.
Incident occurred Thursday, November 20, 1997 in MIAMI, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2000
Aircraft: Douglas DC-8F-55, registration: N55FB
Injuries: 3 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 flight engineer stated that, after No. 4 engine start, the start valve closed as indicated by an increase in pressure in the manifold. Wile climbing through 13,500 feet, the fire warning light and bell illuminated and sounded for the No. 4 engine. Both fire bottles were discharged which extinguished the light and the flight returned landing uneventfully. While taxiing off the runway, the fire warning indication occurred again. The crew evacuated the airplane and the fire was extinguished. Examination of the No. 4 engine revealed that the start valve was 'fully' open and the pneumatic starter had disintegrated. Dents were noted on the interior surface of the starter housing. Disassembly of the non-heat damaged start valve revealed a discrepancy which would prevent the valve from fully closing. Examination of the pneumatic piston assembly and actuator from the valve revealed that the dimension of the inside diameter of the lower portion of the actuator body was less than what was specified. Heat damage to the retained components was noted. The start valve was overhauled September 1994, and had accumulated 1,857 cycles since. The maintenance records indicated that 3 starters were damaged in the 1 year period before the incident; all associated with the No. 4 engine. The total cycles at the time of failure of the first starter was not determined. The second and third starters had accumulated 155 and 478 cycles since installation at the time of failure.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: The inadequate overhaul of the No. 4 engine start valve resulting in the valve remaining open after engine start; and the subsequent free run state of the starter resulting in a starter overheat, disintegration and fire. Full narrative available
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