Aircraft Accident Summary Report - In-Flight Fire, Emergency Descent and Crash in a Residential Area Cessna 310R, N501N

Sanford, Florida
July 10, 2007

NTSB Number: AAR-09-01
NTIS Number: PB2009-910401
Adopted January 28, 2009
PDF Document

Executive Summary

On July 10, 2007, about 0835 eastern daylight time, a Cessna Aircraft Company 310R, N501N, part of the fleet operated by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) corporate aviation division, crashed while performing an emergency diversion to Orlando Sanford International Airport, Orlando, Florida. The two pilots on board the airplane (a commercial pilot and an airline transport pilot) and three people on the ground were killed. Four people on the ground received serious injuries. The airplane and two homes were destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of this accident were the actions and decisions by NASCAR's corporate aviation division's management and maintenance personnel to allow the accident airplane to be released for flight with a known and unresolved discrepancy, and the accident pilots' decision to operate the airplane with that known discrepancy, a discrepancy that likely resulted in an in-flight fire.

This report discusses safety issues related to the resetting of circuit breakers, the inspection and maintenance of electrical systems in general aviation aircraft, and the establishment of Safety Management Systems in general aviation corporate operations.

Recommendations

The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that the Federal Aviation Administration:

Develop a safety alert for operators informing general aviation pilots and maintenance personnel of the circuit breaker policy contained in Advisory Circular 120-80. (A-09-12)

Require that the contents of the safety alert for operators requested in Safety Recommendation A-09-12 be included in initial and required biennial training for general aviation pilots and maintenance personnel. (A-09-13)

Require aircraft manufacturers and those responsible for postmanufacture modifications to improve existing guidance, or create new guidance, regarding which circuit breakers pilots should and should not attempt to reset before or during flight and to disseminate the resultant guidance to airplane mechanics, pilots, and owners. (A-09-14)

Require that initial and recurrent training for maintenance personnel working on general aviation aircraft include the most current "best practices" regarding inspection and maintenance of electrical systems, circuit breakers, and aging wiring. (A-09-15)

Develop a safety alert for operators encouraging all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business operators to adopt Safety Management System programs that include sound risk management practices. (A-09-16)