NTSB Identification: IAD97FA022.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 15, 1996 in WEST MILTON, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/1999
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-220T, registration: N8468H
Injuries: 2 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.

The pilot and passenger were dropped off to pick up the pilot's airplane, after a new Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) unit had been installed. After takeoff, the pilot stated to the flight instructor over the Unicom frequency that he was having problems with his trim and was heading for Dayton. Before contacting the Dayton Airport, the pilot stated the airplane had a full deflection of elevator down trim, and he was having difficulty holding his altitude. The instructor asked if he had pulled the circuit breaker for the trim, and the pilot answered yes. Shortly thereafter the airplane impacted into a farm field in a near vertical attitude. The King KLN 89 GPS unit was wired to the number one VOR and the autopilot in such a manner that the GPS could be coupled to the autopilot. According to the technician, after installation the system was checked on the ground and found to be operational. The repair technician failed to have the aircraft test flown in accordance with FAR 91.407 (b) prior to releasing it to the pilot.

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

The pilot's inability to maintain aircraft control after an undetermined failure of the automatic flight control. A contributing factor was failure of the maintenance technician to have the airplane test flown prior to release.

Full narrative available

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