MIA01LA236
MIA01LA236

On June 14, 2001, about 1030 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-161, N554HA, owned and operated by Venice Flying Service Inc., as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 test flight had an engine fire during taxi, and after landing at the Venice Airport, Venice, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airline transport rated-pilot reported no injuries. The flight had originated from the Venice Airport at 0930.

According to the pilot, after landing and exiting the runway, "the engine stall[ed]. When I was trying to restart some smoke start[ed] to come out from the engine. I crank it a little bit longer then exit[ed] the airplane as it was burning." Note: The pilot operator handbook (POH) for the Piper PA-28-161 states, "...if fire continues more than a few seconds, the fire should be extinguished by the best avialable external means...the fuel selector valves should be "OFF" and the mixture at idle cut-off if an external fire extinguishing method is used."

According to an FAA inspector, "…[the pilot's] first attempt to restart was unsuccessful. He cleared the engine by cranking with full throttle and the mixture in idle cutoff. On his second attempt to start the engine, the engine again failed to start, and upon seeing smoke, he ceased cranking the engine… The aircraft was positioned on the taxiway 90 degrees to the prevailing wind. As a result most of the fire damage is to the left side of the engine compartment." In addition, the inspector reported that the airplane had a 2-year history of "intermittent stalling problems after landing." The carburetor had been replaced on four occasions, including the day of the fire. The fuel and ignition systems had been checked repeatedly during troubleshooting and various repairs accomplished to include spark replacement, internal magneto timing, and fuel filter cleaning.

The accident was never reported to the NTSB. An FAA inspector discovered the wreckage on October 26, 2001, during a routine inspection of the fixed base operator's facilities.

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