NTSB Identification: ERA10LA210
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 05, 2010 in Pittsburgh, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/11/2011
Aircraft: BEECH 35-A33, registration: N156J
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.

During the takeoff roll, the pilot smelled and saw smoke emanating from the instrument panel. He aborted the takeoff, exited the runway, and shut off the master and alternator switches. The smoke continued to emanate from the instrument panel so the pilot elected to shutdown the engine and both occupants exited the airplane. Paint blistering was observed on the left side of the airplane in the vicinity of the instrument panel. The cabin area and the roof structure were consumed by fire, resulting in substantial damage to the airplane. The pilot stated that he purchased the airplane approximately six months prior to the accident, but the airplane and engine logbooks were lost prior to the purchase. After the pilot purchased the airplane, it was inspected in accordance with regulations, but no work was performed on the avionics or wiring other than replacing the altitude encoder. Two years prior to the accident, the manufacturer issued a communiqué that required an inspection for wire chaffing after any maintenance work, and during an annual inspection with special emphasis on examining the areas with considerable amount of movement. It further stated that the area between the instrument panel and the firewall not only had the greatest concentration of wiring, but also had moving components that could damage improperly secured wiring in a very short time. A postaccident inspection by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the area of the origin for the fire was the left forward section of the instrument panel, in the vicinity of the communication radios, circuit breakers, and electrical bus bar. The exact source of the fire could not be determined.

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

A fire of undetermined origin behind the left instrument panel.

Full narrative available

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