NTSB Identification: CHI96LA255.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 28, 1996 in NEW MELLE, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-151, registration: N44059
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Shortly after takeoff, the elevator trim traveled to the nose up position. The pilot reported that he had to maintain 15 to 20 pounds of pressure on the control yoke to keep the airplane in a nose level attitude, and he had to hold the yoke about 2 inches from its forward stop. He was unable to rectify the situation, and he elected to make an off airport landing. During the landing, the airplane contacted fence posts, and both wings were separated from the fuselage. Postaccident inspection revealed that the wiring between the electric trim switch and the trim motor had shorted. This resulted in motor activation. The pilot stated the trim switch had been broken for 'years,' but he had never disconnected the wiring between the switch and the motor.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's selection of an unsuitable area for an emergency/precautionary landing. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's continual operation of the airplane with a known deficiency (broken trim switch); an uncommanded activation of the elevator trim to the nose up position, which resulted from a short in the electrical wiring between a broken trim switch and the trim motor; and fence posts in the selected emergency landing area. Full narrative available
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