SEA01IA093
SEA01IA093

On May 14, 2001, approximately 1745 Pacific daylight time, a Beech C-99, N992AF, registered to Fleet Capital Corp. and operated by Ameriflight Inc. as a 14 CFR Part 135 on demand cargo flight, experienced an in-flight fire from the main circuit breaker panel below the right cockpit window while in cruise flight. The flame extinguished shortly thereafter. The pilot diverted to and landed without further incident at Salem, Oregon. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The aircraft received minor damage and the airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight originated from Portland, Oregon, about 10 minutes prior to the incident. The flight was destined for Roseburg, Oregon.

During a telephone interview, the pilot reported that the aircraft was in cruise flight at 9,000 feet when he noted an odor. The pilot then observed a flame coming from the main circuit breaker panel on the right side. While the pilot was talking to air traffic control, the flame extinguished leaving smoke in the cockpit. The pilot diverted to Salem, and landed without further incident.

Maintenance personnel inspected the airplane and reported that, "a 1/4 inch hole had burned through the circuit breaker panel surface fascia. Maintenance reported that the fire was apparently caused by an internal short in the backlighting panel immediately under the fascia panel. The backlight panel contains numerous small-gage wires and grain-of-wheat light bulbs. The malfunction did not draw sufficient current to trip a circuit breaker."

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