July 14, 2009, Westley, Calif., Piper PA-46-310P


The airplanes crew executed a forced landing at about 1000 Pacific time, following an in-flight fire. The flight instructor (CFI) and the private pilot were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed. During flight review, they encountered smoke in the cockpit, which was originating in the area of the copilots rudder pedals.

The pilots performed the emergency procedures for an electrical fire, which included shutting down the electrical system. The CFI attempted to clear the smoke by opening the window vents. The smoke seemed to subside, but did not stop. The pilots elected to momentarily energize the electrical system to lower the landing gear. After activating the gear handle, there was no indication of any response from the landing gear system. They then turned the electrical system back off.

The landing site was a plowed field; the touchdown was firm, and the airplanes nosewheel collapsed almost immediately. The pilots did not realize that the main landing gear was down and locked until they touched down. Subsequent examination noted there was a hole in the exhaust systems cross tube between the two turbochargers, and extensive fire damage to the rear of the engine and to the firewall.


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