NTSB Identification: SEA07LA170.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 10, 2007 in Redlands, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N130RJ
Injuries: 2 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.
On approach to landing the flight instructor, who occupied the right pilot seat, observed a loss of engine power. After landing and during the rollout the engine quit, followed by the left seat student pilot observing flames coming from his side of the engine cowling. The instructor pilot subsequently noticed smoke and flames coming from his side of the cowling, prompting the instructor and his student to evacuate the airplane. An examination of the airplane revealed thermal damage to the firewall and all four engine mounts. Two days after the accident an FAA inspector observed the operation of the electric fuel pump to be "normal." The inspector also reported that while observing the operation of the electric fuel pump he observed the carburetor leaking a steady stream of fluid. A subsequent examination of the airplane's carburetor revealed that prior to flow testing, the unit did flood before being tapped, after which it held fuel pressure. An examination/teardown of the carburetor revealed that the carburetor float was restricted due to a misadjusted retractor clip, which allowed fuel to pass the needle valve before being expelled from the carburetor and ignited by an undetermined source. It was also revealed by an FAA inspector that 2 days prior to the accident flight an incorrect electric fuel pump had been installed on the airplane during a 100-hour inspection, with a designation "FOR EXPERIMENTAL USE ONLY."
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The restriction of the carburetor float as a result of a misadjusted retractor clip. A contributing factor was the fire.
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