NTSB Identification: FTW96FA151.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 21, 1996 in NEW ORLEANS, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/18/1997
Aircraft: Sukhoi SU-29, registration: N729SU
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Radar data indicated the airplane was maneuvering in a manner consistent with the performance of aerobatics prior to entering an uncontrolled descent during which it reached a speed of over 220 knots. Evidence indicated that, prior to impact, the pilot jettisoned the canopy, released his restraining harness, and deployed his emergency parachute. All of the suspension lines attaching the parachute canopy to the harness separated. The manufacturer recommended that the parachute not be deployed at speeds greater than 140 knots; however, this limit was not marked, nor was it required to be marked, on the parachute. Examination of the airplane's elevator control system revealed evidence that a bolt attaching a control tube to a bellcrank migrated out during the flight. The bolt should have been secured with a castellated nut and a cotter pin. The control tube end, bolt, castellated nut, and cotter pin were not recovered from the accident site. It could not be determined whether the bolt was improperly installed when the airplane was manufactured or had subsequently been removed and reinstalled incorrectly.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The in-flight loss of a bolt in the elevator control system due to improper installation by unknown person(s), which resulted in a disconnection of the elevator control system that rendered the airplane uncontrollable.

Full narrative available

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