NTSB Identification: NYC96FA073.
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Accident occurred Monday, March 11, 1996 in BRIDGEPORT, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/01/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-250, registration: N222WR
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.
Earlier on the day of the accident, the airplane was being operated on the ground, when the main landing gear was inadvertently retracted. The airplane settled on its tail; however, the propellers did not touch the ground. The engines were shut down, and the occupants deplaned. The airplane was raised, and the gear was extended. The airplane was inspected, which included removal of the side and rear panels in the vicinity of the stabilator and rudder. A ferry permit was issued for flight to another airport where repairs could be made, with the restriction that the landing gear remain extended. The pilot departed on the flight, and after takeoff, he requested to return for a landing with no reason given. The airplane was observed to turn crosswind and then downwind, where it subsequently descended in a wings level attitude below the level of surrounding terrain, after which black smoke was observed. Impact occurred on the side of a hill, and debris was strewn 267 feet. Examination of the propellers and engines did not disclose evidence of a mechanical malfunction. There was no evidence of a jam in the rudder or elevator flight controls. The rudder trim and manual elevator trim were collocated. In addition, the airplane was equipped with an electric elevator trim. The rudder trim was found in neutral, and the elevator trim was found full nose down. The forward portion of the cockpit was crushed and no evidence of a pre-existing failure was found.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inablility to maintain aircraft control due to a full nose down trim condition, which resulted in a loss of control and collision with terrain. Full narrative available
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