NTSB Identification: LAX02FA259.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 23, 2002 in Mesa, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N4796E
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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.

The student pilot observed smoke and flames in the circuit breaker/throttle area of the instrument panel during the takeoff initial climb about 100 feet above the ground. He called out the fire to the certified flight instructor (CFI), who then took over the flight controls and landed on the remaining runway. The airplane came to a stop in an open area beyond the departure end of the runway. Prior to exiting the airplane the CFI turned off the master switch, avionics master, magnetos, fuel selector, and he pulled the mixture to idle cutoff. After the occupants exited the airplane it became engulfed in flames. Both the CFI and the student reported that the landing light circuit breaker had been tripped. The CFI had attempted to reset the circuit breaker, but it would not reset. Due to the extensive fire damage to the instrument panel and circuit breakers, the landing light circuit breaker was not identified and a determination could not be made as to the ignition area of the fire.

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

An electrical fire of unknown origin centered near the circuit breaker/throttle area of the instrument panel.

Full narrative available

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