NTSB Identification: FTW97LA083.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 15, 1997 in LAPORTE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Bellanca 8KCAB, registration: N5062P
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot encountered pitch control problems after completing approximately 30 minutes of aerobatics. The pilot contacted the operator on Unicom and advised them that the airplane was experiencing elevator control problems. He reported his position as 10 miles southeast of the airport and advised the traffic that he was proceeding straight in to runway 30. The operator stated that the pilot was unable to move the elevator or the elevator trim, but managed to control the airplane's pitch and altitude with power. After clearing trees near the airport, the airplane touched down short of the airport, bounced, went through the airport's perimeter fence, impacted a fire hydrant and skidded to a stop approximately 1/4 mile short of the threshold for runway 30. Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector and the operator revealed that a chromed adjustment buckle of the type normally utilized for the shoulder harness straps was blocking the movement of the elevator control tube at the elevator bellcrank. A review of the airplane records revealed that the shoulder harnesses were replaced by a mechanic approximately 90 flight hours prior to the accident.

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

The pilot's diminished ability to maintain control of the airplane due to a jammed elevator control as result of inadequate maintenance procedures by the operator's mechanic.

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