The pilot reported that he smelled “electrical” smoke during a cross-country flight in his RV-4.
He decided to land immediately and moved the throttle to idle.
He diverted the airplane but, when he realized that it was not going to be able to reach the diversion airpark, he executed a precautionary landing to a pasture in New Waverly, Texas.
The airplane was intact when it came to rest. After the pilot exited the airplane, he saw smoke and flames coming from the tunnel located at the firewall between the rudder pedals that housed the forward stick assembly, fuel filter, fuel selector valve, electric fuel boost pump, and a conduit for wires from the back of the airplane. The stainless steel firewall remained intact, however the wires and controls that ran through the fittings were burned.
The pilot reported that no fuel was seeping, that he saw no blue stains, and that he did not smell fuel in the cockpit.
The cause of the in-flight fire could not be determined due to the extent of the damage.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as an in-flight fire for reasons that could not be determined because the wreckage was consumed by fire.
NTSB Identification: CEN14LA021
This October 2013 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.