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During cruise at 9,000 ft, the aircraft encountered severe turbulence and the electrical system failed. The pilot unintentionally lost control of the aircraft when he leaned forward on the control column yoke and used both hands to search in the dark for a torch on the cockpit floor.

After recovering the hand-held torch, the pilot was able to light the instrument panel and return the aircraft to the required heading and altitude. When the battery master switch was turned off, the electrical system returned to full operation on alternators.

Maintenance personnel found that an internal electrical short in one of the 12 volt batteries had contributed to the electrical failure. After replacement of the faulty battery and completion of satisfactory electrical system checks, the aircraft was returned to service.

The pilot of the aircraft now secures his torch to his shirt with a strap to enable him to use both hands to keep control of the aircraft should a similar situation arise.

The aircraft operator now secures torches in all its aircraft with the addition of a quick release strap on the torch container.

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