NTSB Identification: ATL92IA025.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 46302.
Scheduled 14 CFR operation of DELTA AIR LINES, INC.
Incident occurred Wednesday, November 20, 1991 in ATLANTA, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/09/1993
Aircraft: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD-88, registration: N908DL
Injuries: 29 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.

SHORTLY AFTER LIFTOFF A PASSENGER IN ROW 18 REPORTED OBSERVING FLAMES COMING FROM THE OVERHEAD AREA ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE AIRPLANE. THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT SUPPRESSED THE REPORTED AREA WITH A HALON FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND REPORTED THE INCIDENT TO THE FLIGHT DECK. HOWEVER, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT DID NOT REPORT SEEING FLAMES. AN EMERGENCY LANDING WAS MADE AT THE DEPARTURE AIRPORT WITHOUT FURTHER INCIDENT. EXAMINATION OF THE OVERHEAD AREA AROUND ROW 18 REVEALED THAT THE CANNON PLUG CONNECTOR ADJACENT TO THE LIGHT ASSEMBLY HAD SHORTED. SUBSEQUENT EXAMINATIONS OF THE CONNECTOR REVEALED THAT PINS IN THE MATING HALVES OF THE CONNECTOR WERE DAMAGED, AND APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURED WHEN A PREVIOUS CONNECTION WAS ATTEMPTED. RESEARCH EFFORTS TO DUPLICATE THE CONNECTOR FAILURE MODE FAILED. A REVIEW OF THE OPERATORS MAINTENANCE RECORDS FAILED TO DISCLOSE IF ANY MAINTANANCE HAD BEEN CONDUCTED IN THE AREA OF THE CONNECTOR. HOWEVER, THE OPERATOR COULD NOT VERIFY THAT THE CONNECTOR AND AFFECTED AREAS WERE NEVER SERVICED DURING A PREVIOUS STOPOVER

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

A SHORT IN AN ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR WHICH RESULTED IN ITS FAILURE. THE REASON FOR THE SHORT WAS NOT DETERMINED. A FACTOR WAS THE IMPROPER INSTALLATION OF THE CONNECTOR BY AN UNKNOWN MAINTENANCE PERSON.

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