Carburetor float, fuel pump lead to engine fire

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.
Injuries: None.
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.

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  1. George Horn says

    I agree with Elbie and Joe: The headline is inappropriate, misleading, and performs a DIS-service to those of us who care. I do not care for GAN to sensationalize such as this.

  2. Elbie H. Mendenhall says

    I feel you have a misleading headline in this article as from what I got out of the NTSB report was the carburetor float was restricted due to a incorrectly installed needle valve clip, the fuel pump being wrong was discovered during the investigation, and from what I read had nothing to do wtih the engine failure. Although this pump was for “homebuilt aircraft only” was illegal on this certified aircraft, it had no influence on the accident.

  3. says

    Nothing I read in the NTSB “probable cause” indicated the fuel pump was the culprit but rather the “restriction of the carburetor float”. It is immaterial that the pump was not correct for this airplane. Therefore, I feel that your headline is misleading and just wrong and including the fuel pump in your “probable cause” paragraph is off base.

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