NTSB Identification: ATL93MA055.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 52843.
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 03, 1993 in MARIETTA, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/18/1994
Aircraft: LOCKHEED L382E-44K-20, registration: N130X
Injuries: 7 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE ACFT WAS DESIGNED & USED AS THE COMPANY'S ENGINEERING TEST BED. AN EVALUATION OF THE FLY-BY-WIRE RUDDER ACTUATOR & GROUND MINIMUM CONTROL SPEED (VMCG) WAS BEING CONDUCTED. DURING THE FINAL HI-SPEED GROUND TEST RUN, THE ACFT ABRUPTLY VEERED LEFT & BECAME AIRBORNE. IT ENTERED A LEFT TURN, CLIMBED TO ABOUT 250 FT, DEPARTED CONTROLLED FLT & IMPACTED THE GRND. INVESTIGATION REVEALED A DESIGN FEATURE IN THE RUDDER ACTUATOR THAT REMOVES HYD PRESSURE WITHIN THE ACTUATOR IF THE RUDDER POSITION COMMANDED BY THE PILOT EXCEEDED THE ACTUAL RUDDER ACTUATOR POSITION FOR A SPECIFIED TIME, AND THE RUDDER AERODYNAMICALLY TRAILS. THE ACTUATOR PREVIOUSLY DISENGAGED IN FLT. THE COMPANY DID NOT CONDUCT A SYSTEM SAFETY REVIEW OF THE RUDDER BYPASS FEATURE & ITS CONSEQUENCES TO ALL FLT REGIMES, NOR OF THE VMCG TEST. THE FLT TEST PLAN SPECIFIED THAT ENGINE POWER BE RETARDED IF THE RUDDER BECAME INEFFECTIVE. NEITHER PLT HAD RECEIVED TRAINING AS AN EXPERIMENTAL TEST PLT. THE COMPANY ALLOWED EXPERIMENTAL FLT TESTS AT A CONFINED, METROPOLITAN ARPT.

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

DISENGAGEMENT OF THE RUDDER FLY-BY-WIRE FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM RESULTING IN A TOTAL LOSS OF RUDDER CONTROL CAPABILITY WHILE CONDUCTING GROUND MINIMUM CONTROL SPEED TESTS. THE DISENGAGEMENT WAS A RESULT OF THE INADEQUATE DESIGN OF THE RUDDER'S INTEGRATED ACTUATOR PACKAGE BY ITS MANUFACTURER; THE OPERATOR'S INSUFFICIENT SYSTEM SAFETY REVIEW FAILED TO CONSIDER THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE INADEQUATE DESIGN TO ALL OPERATING REGIMES. A FACTOR WHICH CONTRIBUTED TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE FLIGHT CREW'S LACK OF ENGINEERING FLIGHT TEST TRAINING.

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