NTSB Identification: CHI90FA029.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 41856.
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 21, 1989 in MONROE CENTER, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-235, registration: N9465W
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

NON-INSTRUMENT RATED PRIVATE PILOT TOOK OFF IN IMC CONDITIONS AT NIGHT; CRASHED 9 MINUTES LATER. WITNESSES REPORTED SEEING THE AIRCRAFT IN A STEEP DIVE, ON FIRE, PRIOR TO IMPACT. EXTENSIVE FIRE DAMAGE INTERIOR CABIN. NO EVIDENCE OF INSULATION GROMMET AT FRAME PENETRATION OF MAIN WIRING HARNESS, OR CABLE INSULATION FROM THIS POINT TO BATTERY. BATTERY BOX BULGED OUT ALL SIDES, BLACK & CHARRED. WING SPAR WEB MELTED AND MISSING FROM WHERE ELECT FUEL PUMP ATTACHES TO SPAR TO RIGHT SIDE WING ATTACH POINT. ALUM WIRING REPLACED DURING LAST ANNUAL 4/29/89. LOG SHEET ENTRY 11/18/89 'BAD GAS SMELL!'.

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

IN-FLIGHT FIRE INITIATED BY AN INADEQUATELY INSTALLED WIRING HARNESS AND PROPAGATED BY AN EXISTING FUEL LEAK WHICH WAS NOT REPAIRED.

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