NTSB Identification: CHI04LA078.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 25, 2004 in Elberfeld, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Cessna R182, registration: N5450T
Injuries: 1 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.
The airplane sustained an in-flight fire during cruise flight on an aerial pipeline observation flight. The pilot performed a forced landing and the on-ground fire destroyed the airplane. The pilot reported that he conducted a through preflight examination of the aircraft. Fuel samples were taken from each tank, and the pilot stated that no fuel, oil, or any other discrepancies were revealed during the inspection. Approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes into the flight the pilot reported that he smelled wisps of smoke. The smell of smoke became stronger and forced the pilot to look for the source of the smell. The pilot then felt heat on his left shin and detected smoke emitting from beneath the left side of the instrument panel. The pilot opened his door to release the smoke from the cabin of the aircraft. The pilot noticed a small flame emitting from the electrical wiring bundle. The pilot used his fire extinguisher to douse the flame. The pilot reported that the engine continued to run normally at this time. The pilot initially made a turn for the closest airport that was approximately nine miles from his current position. However, a large, black cloud of smoke then filled the cockpit. The pilot decided to land the airplane as soon as possible. The pilot stated that he placed his head outside the window of pilot's side door in order to navigate and breathe. The pilot reported that while doing this, he saw a flame emitting from the right side of the engine cowl. The pilot landed the airplane, gear up, in a field. The pilot evacuated the airplane before the fire engulfed three-fourths of the fuselage. An on-scene examination was performed. Flight control continuity was established from the surfaces to cabin area. Testing was unable to be performed due to the extent of fire damage.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The in-flight and on-ground fires in the cabin and engine compartment for undetermined reasons during the flight's cruise and emergency landing. Full narrative available
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