This June 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Piper Cherokee.
Location: Redlands, Calif.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: A student pilot was receiving instruction from a CFI. During the approach to landing, the engine lost power. The student was able to reach the airport. As the plane touched down the engine burst into flames. The instructor and student were able to escape the airplane.
The post-accident inspection revealed that the carburetor was leaking fuel. A tear-down revealed that the carburetor float was restricted due to a misadjusted retractor clip. It also was determined that two days before the accident an incorrect electric fuel pump had been installed on the airplane during a 100-hour inspection. The fuel pump carried the a designation “For Experimental Use Only.”
Probable cause: The restriction of the carburetor float as a result of a misadjusted retractor clip. Wrong fuel pump leads to engine fire.
For more information: NTSB.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20070723X00985&key=1