NTSB Identification: IAD05LA095.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 05, 2005 in Branchville, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Grumman American AA-5, registration: N6061L
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.

While in cruise flight over mountains, the pilot smelled a combination of "electrical smoke and fuel." He opened the canopy and at the same time, fire came out from under the instrument panel. He then closed the canopy, and the fire diminished. He did not execute the 'In-Flight Electrical Fires' checklist, and chose to attempt a forced landing on top of a ridge in a state forest. During the landing, the airplane struck trees, and began to leak fuel. Examination of the airplane revealed fire damage in the vicinity of the airplane's battery and the electrical wiring harness that lead from the battery. The engine, engine accessories, and surrounding structure were undamaged by fire. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed approximately 6 months prior to the accident, and as part of the inspection, work was performed on wiring going to the cigar lighter, and the cables for the electric starter.

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

An electrical fire of unknown origin. A factor in the accident was the pilot's failure to perform the In-Flight Electrical Fires checklist.

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