NTSB Identification: IAD02LA020.
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Accident occurred Monday, December 17, 2001 in MARTINSBURG, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 401A, registration: N4062Q
Injuries: 2 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.

While in cruise flight, with the combustion heater turned on, the pilot heard an explosion. Smoke then entered the cabin, followed by a loss of electrical power. The pilot diverted and landed without incident. Examination of the airplane revealed that the combustion heater exhibited heat and fire damage. The fuel pump supply line that ran between the fuel pump and the heater was found cracked at the fuel pump housing inlet, and was loose. The fractured surfaces appeared dull, and displayed carbon build-up. Examination of the airplane's logbooks revealed that on December 1, 1993, the combustion heater had been removed, rebuilt, and then re-installed, at a total airplane time of 3,932.2 hours. Additionally, there were no logged entries which indicated that the 20-year old Airworthiness Directive that was issued to "prevent a hazardous condition caused by deterioration on the combustion heater", for this particular model heater had been complied with. The airplane underwent an annual inspection in September 2001, at a total airplane time of 5,213.5 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accrued a total of 5,231.9 hours.

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

the owner/mechanic's failure to comply with an Airworthiness Directive, which resulted in a cracked fuel supply line and subsequent in-flight fire.

Full narrative available

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