NTSB Identification: WPR10LA128
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, February 04, 2010 in Dolan Springs, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/21/2010
Aircraft: PIPER AIRCRAFT INC PA-32R-301T, registration: N1060X
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.

The pilot/owner reported that about 30 minutes into the flight, he began to smell fuel. A short time later, the smell became stronger and was accompanied by a sensation of deceleration with no corresponding engine roughness. He immediately initiated an emergency descent and landed in a dry lake bed. During the landing flare, smoke began to stream from the front of the airplane, and after landing the fuselage was consumed by fire. Examination of the fuel inlet line which connects the fuel servo to the fuel flow divider revealed that it was approximately 1 1/2 turns loose at the 'B' nut fitting at the fuel flow divider. Fueling records indicated that at minimum, the airplane had flown 25 to 40 hours since the annual inspection, which was completed 5 months prior to the accident. The mechanic who performed the annual inspection specifically recalled verifying that the 'B' nut fitting was secure. The pilot reported that prior to the annual inspection the airplane had not been producing full power at takeoff. According to the pilot the deficiency was not resolved during the inspection, or on subsequent return trips to the maintenance facility. The pilot continued to fly the airplane with the discrepancy.

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

The fuel flow divider inlet line nut coming loose during cruise flight, resulting in a fuel leak and in-flight fire. The root cause of the loose B-nut fitting could not be determined. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to fly the airplane with a known deficiency.

Full narrative available

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