NTSB Identification: BFO92IA017.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 52722.
Scheduled 14 CFR operation of USAIR EXPRESS (D.B.A. HENSON AVIATION )
Incident occurred Sunday, January 12, 1992 in BALTIMORE, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/07/1995
Aircraft: de Havilland DHC-8-102, registration: N923HA
Injuries: 33 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.

AS THE GEAR & FLAPS WERE RETRACTED AFTER TAKEOFF, THE #1 ENGINE LOW FUEL PRESSURE WARNING LIGHT ILLUMINATED. AT ABOUT 400' AGL, A "LOUD BANG" WAS HEARD FOLLOWED BY A #1 ENGINE FIRE WARNING INDICATION. THE ENGINE WAS SHUT DOWN & BOTH FIRE EXTINGUISHING BOTTLES WERE DISCHARGED. THE FLIGHTCREW EXTENDED THE LANDING GEAR BY USING THE ALTERNATE SYSTEM & MADE A NO-FLAP EMERGENCY LANDING. THEY USED EMERGENCY BRAKES, BUT DIRECTIONAL CONTROL WAS LOST & THE AIRCRAFT EXITED THE SIDE OF THE RUNWAY & STOPPED WITH THE FIRE EXTINGUISHED. AN EXAM OF THE #1 ENGINE AREA REVEALED A FAILED LOW FUEL PRESSURE WARNING SWITCH SNUBBER & FIRE DAMAGE TO THE ENGINE, NACELLE & WHEELWELL. THERE WAS EVIDENCE THAT DURING INSTALLATION, THE LOW FUEL PRESSURE WARNING SWITCH SNUBBER WAS TORSIONALLY DEFORMED, THEN FATIGUE & SUBSEQUENT FAILURE OCCURRED. GAPS IN THE FIREWALL ALLOWED LEAKING FUEL (SPRAY) TO ENTER THE HOT SECTION & IGNITE. THIS RESULTED IN AN EXPLOSION & FIRE. FIRE PROPAGATION RESULTED IN BURNED WIRES TO THE #1 STANDBY HYDRAULIC PUMP & A RUPTERED #2 SYSTEM HYDRAULIC LINE.

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

IMPROPER INSTALLATION OF THE LOW FUEL PRESSURE WARNING SWITCH SNUBBER ON THE #1 ENGINE, RESULTING IN FATIGUE FAILURE OF THE SNUBBER, A FUEL LEAK (SPRAY), AND SUBSEQUENT EXPLOSION/FIRE DAMAGE. A FACTOR RELATED TO THE INCIDENT WAS: INADEQUATE DESIGN OF THE FIREWALL, WHICH ALLOWED FUEL VAPORS TO MIGRATE TO THE HOT SECTION OF THE ENGINE.

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