NTSB Identification: LAX83FA002
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, October 15, 1982 in PALM SPRINGS, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/15/1983
Aircraft: SWEARINGEN SA-226TC, registration: N63SA
Injuries: 1 Minor,17 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.

WHILE AT THE GATE WITH THE PASSENGERS SEATED & THE ENGINES RUNNING, THE COPILOT ATTEMPTED TO TURN UP HIS PANEL LIGHTS WITH THE RHEOSTAT LOCATED ON THE FAR RIGHT FORWARD PORTION OF THE SIDE ELECTRICAL PANEL. AT THAT INSTANT SMOKE BEGAN TO ERUPT AT HIS RIGHT KNEE POSITION. THE PASSENGERS WERE EVACUATED & THE COCKPIT FIRE WAS PUT OUT BY THE GROUND CREW. THE RHEOSTAT WAS FOUND TO BE CONTAMINATED WITH HYDRAULIC FLUID, & HEAVY ARCING WAS FOUND ON THE RHEOSTAT AT THE FULL HIGH POSITION. THREE HYDRAULIC LINES WERE FOUND TO BE BURNED IN HALF FORWARD & UNDER THE CIRCUIT BREAKER PANEL ACCESS DOOR. EXAMINATION OF THE HYDRAULIC BRAKE LINE REVEALED STRESS CRACKS DUE TO CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION OR FATIGUE, PERMITTING BRAKE FLUID TO ESCAPE INTO THE SURROUNDING AREA. THE BRAKE FLUID WAS IGNITED BY THE ARCING COPILOT'S RHEOSTAT, & THE FIRE REACHED AN OXYGEN LINE WITHIN SECONDS CAUSING A BLOW-OUT HOLE THRU THE FUSELAGE.

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

INSTRUMENT LIGHT(S)..CONTAMINATION

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

INSTRUMENT LIGHT(S)..ARCING

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

HYDRAULIC SYSTEM,LINE..CONTAMINATION

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

HYDRAULIC SYSTEM,LINE..DUMPED

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

HYDRAULIC SYSTEM,LINE..FAILURE,PARTIAL

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

HYDRAULIC SYSTEM,LINE..LEAK

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

HYDRAULIC SYSTEM,LINE..BURNED

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

FUSELAGE,INSTRUMENT/ELECTRICAL PANEL..BURNED

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

OXYGEN SYSTEM,CREW..EXPLODED

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