December 17, Martinsburg, W.Va. / Cessna 401


At 18:50 eastern time, a Cessna 401A suffered an in-flight fire during cruise flight, but the pilot made a safe landing. No one was injured. The airplane was at 6,000 feet with the combustion heater on when the pilot heard an explosion. Smoke then entered the cabin and the airplane lost all electrical power. The pilot did not declare an emergency and landed without incident at Eastern West Virginia Regional/Shepard Airport. The airplane had a total time of 5,231 hours and the combustion heater was subject to an AD for inspections every 250 hours and overhauls every 1,000 hours. The heater had been rebuilt about 1,300 flight hours earlier, but the heaters Hobbs meter was destroyed and the time on the heater is unknown. There was no record in the airplanes logs noting compliance with the AD for inspections or overhauls.


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