NTSB Identification: FTW02LA098.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 21, 2002 in Albuquerque, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/06/2002
Aircraft: Republic P-47N-20-RE, registration: N47TB
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, who was an FAA certified airframe and power plant mechanic, on the morning the accident, he completed re-installing the engine following its overhaul by another company. He made several engine run and leak checks, and all parameters were within limits and no leaks were noted. He then boarded the airplane for a 15 minute maintenance test flight. The flight taxied to the runway, and the pilot performed a pre-takeoff engine run-up, noted no anomalies and departed. During the initial takeoff climb, just as the pilot reached for the landing gear lever, the cockpit filled with black smoke, and the engine began to lose power. The tower controller then reported to the pilot that the airplane was on fire. The pilot executed a forced landing back to the runway, which had some length remaining. The airplane impacted the ground, and an intense fire erupted (the pilot observed a flash fire through the cockpit). The airplane slid 1,000 feet and came to rest upright. Examination of the airplane revealed that the exhaust interconnect tube to the exhaust collector for the #10 cylinder was protruding through the inlet duct of the lower cheek cowl, and was disconnected from the cylinder. The area around the opening exhibited severe heat distress, consistent with a fire. Oil supply lines and the main fuel supply line were melted through and compromised. The oil and fuel line hoses were made of rubber and were not outfitted with fire shields. No other pertinent anomalies were discovered with the #10 cylinder or the remainder of the engine.

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

the pilot/mechanic's failure to properly re-install the engine's #10 cylinder exhaust interconnect tube, which resulted in an in-flight fire and forced landing. Contributing factors were the burned fuel and oil supply lines, which were not fire shielded.

Full narrative available

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