NTSB Identification: IAD03FA024.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 20, 2002 in WOODBURY, CT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-301T, registration: N8168G
Injuries: 2 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.

While in cruise flight at night, the pilot declared an emergency, and reported heavy smoke in the cockpit and an engine fire. Approximately 3 minutes later, while being vectored by air traffic control to a local airport, the airplane crashed in residential property. Several witnesses, including an air traffic controller, saw a red glow or flames around the front of the airplane prior to impact. The controller stated that when he first saw the airplane, it was headed toward the airport, in a descent, with its landing lights on. He momentarily turned his attention away from the airplane, but when he looked at it again, the engine area was engulfed in yellow flames. The airplane then began an uncontrolled descent, and disappeared from view. A post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that it was heavily fragmented from the impact and post-crash fire. In addition, magnesium engine parts were exposed to water during fire fighting efforts, which caused additional damage to portions of the engine and accessories. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the majority of in-flight fire damage was located on the right side of the airplane, from the engine cowling, back to the right passenger door. The source of the engine fire could not be determined.

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

An engine fire for undetermined reasons, which resulted in the pilot's loss of control, and the airplane's subsequent impact with terrain.

Full narrative available

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