NTSB Identification: ERA16LA154
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 27, 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N16366
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On March 27, 2016, about 1100 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N16366, was substantially damaged after a fire occurred during engine startup while the airplane was parked on the ramp at the Allegheny County Airport (AGC), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the intended local personal flight that was to be conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
The pilot stated that on the morning of the accident, he called the fuel supplier and asked for the airplane to be topped off, in preparation for a local flight. After performing a preflight inspection, he attempted to start the engine but it would not start. He tried three additional times, without success. On the fifth attempt, he followed the "starting engine when flooded" checklist. As the propeller was turning with the starter, he noticed white smoke "pouring out" of the engine cowl. He turned off the master switch and exited the airplane. He then opened the top engine cowling, and flames suddenly emanated from the left side of the engine, and the color of the smoke changed from white to dark black. He returned to the cockpit to retrieve a handheld fire extinguisher; however the cockpit was filling up with heavy black smoke and he was forced to egress and unable to suppress the engine fire
Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the engine and compartment had incurred substantial fire and heat damage. Inside the cockpit, the fuel primer knob was found in the out/unlocked position.
According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1973. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on September 8, 2015. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 6336 total hours of flight time.