NTSB Identification: DEN07LA166.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 30, 2007 in Taos, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-201T, registration: N38765
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 pilot had just taken off and was in a climb heading southbound when he noticed a slight fuel smell followed by white smoke coming out of the right side of the dash. The pilot turned back toward the airport. Flames began coming from the right side of the airplane's cowling and then the engine lost power. The pilot performed a wheels up landing in rough terrain. The fire persisted as he evacuated the airplane. The airplane continued to burn until fire had consumed all but the airplane's engine, wing tips and empennage. An examination of the airplane showed a b-nut on the fuel return line had become unscrewed. No other anomalies with the airplane were found.

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

The unsecured B-nut fitting to the fuel return line which allowed for fuel spillage, an engine fire, and fuel exhaustion that led to the engine's subsequent failure. a factor contributing to the accident was the pilot's intentional wheels up landing in rough, uneven terrain.

Full narrative available

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