On Friday, December 17, 1993, at about 1230 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172, N5753E, piloted by Mr. Edward Hatch, caught fire and burned during the engine start at the Bar Harbor Airport, Bar Harbor, Maine. The airplane was destroyed. The pilot and the one passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and a VFR flight plan had been filed. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR 91.

The pilot did not know the carburetor was removed from the engine for maintenance and had not been replaced. After doing a pre-flight inspection, the pilot and his passenger boarded the airplane. He then placed the fuel selector in the both position, and primed the engine. When the pilot turned the key to the start position, the airplane caught on fire.

According to the FAA, the Flying Club's Vice- President was informed by the Acadia Air, maintenance personnel, that the carburetor needed to be repaired or exchanged for a rebuilt carburetor. On December 15, 1993, the carburetor was removed from the airplane's engine and was to be repaired, and a repairable tag for the removed carburetor was initiated.

FAA Inspector, Joseph Murray, wrote in his report:

...the aircraft was returned to its normal parking spot...on the South parking area with the engine recowled. The air filter and associated hardware had been removed by V. Ghergia and placed inside the aircraft behind the pilot's seat. He also placed the fuel tank selector valve to the "off" position. There was no placard installed in or on the aircraft to visually alert someone to the aircraft being out of service. The Club President, the Club Secretary- Treasurer and Acadia Air Maintenance personnel were the only people knowledgeable of the aircraft's condition...

On the morning of December 17, 1993, the pilot, Mr. Hatch called Acadia Air requesting the availability of N5753E at 1230 that afternoon. He was told by an Acadia Air employee, that the airplane was available, and he was scheduled for the airplane from 1230 through 1500.

The pilot did a walkaround inspection and did not observe the missing carburetor or the parts behind the pilot's seat. The airplane caught fire when he started the airplane's engine.

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