SEA96LA048
SEA96LA048

On November 3, 1995, approximately 0740 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-161, N30119, being operated by Great Western Aviation, Inc., was destroyed by a ground fire during engine start prior to an instructional flight. The instructor and student pilot were uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions existed and no flight plan had been activated as the aircraft had not begun taxi movement. The flight, which was to have been instructional, was to have been operated under 14CFR91 and was originating from an area of "T" hangars on the east side of the Salt Lake City International Airport, Salt Lake City, Utah. The Seattle Regional Office of the NTSB was first notified on the afternoon of February 2, 1996.

In a written statement, the instructor pilot reported that during the engine start, the engine fired then stopped. A second attempt was tried without success. The instructor reported that he and the student waited approximately 30 seconds before trying a third time. After the third attempt, the pilot noted what appeared to be "steam" or "smoke" coming from the engine compartment. The instructor attempted a fourth start and continued cranking the starter for about 15 seconds without success before he stopped and exited the cockpit to inspect the front of the airplane. The instructor reported that he noticed a small flame within the engine compartment and instructed the student to exit the airplane. There was no fire extinguisher available and the airplane was quickly consumed by the spreading fire.

The ignition source for the fire could not be determined.

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