NTSB Identification: ATL88FA081.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 37497.
Accident occurred Monday, January 18, 1988 in BARNARDSVILLE, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/11/1989
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N55WP
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.

THE ACFT EXPERIENCED AN IN-FLT STRUCTURAL FAILURE DURING A PERSONAL FLT. JUST PRIOR TO THE BREAK-UP OF THE ACFT THE PLT MADE A MAYDAY RADIO CALL STATING 'THE TRIM IS OUT, BREAKING UP' AND RADAR CONTACT WAS LOST. THE FLT WAS ASSIGNED AN ALT OF 9000 FT BUT THE WRECKAGE DISTRIBUTION DEPICTS A BREAK UP AT 5400 FT MSL OR APRX 1500 FT AGL. A WITNESS REPORTED THE ACFT COMING OVER A MOUNTAIN RIDGE POINTED UP IN AN ALMOST VERTICAL CLIMB. A LOUD BOOM WAS HEARD AND DEBRIS BEGAN TO FALL. THE ACFT FELL NOSE DOWN. THE LAST RADIO TRANSMISSION ALSO CONTAINS THE SOUND OF A STALL WARNING HORN. ONE OF THE OWNERS OF THE ACFT STATED THAT HE FLEW THE ACFT ON 1/6/88 AND USED BOTH MANUAL AND ELEC TRIM WITH NO PROBLEMS. EVEN IN CASE OF MALFUNCTION THE PLT SHOULD BE ABLE TO OVERPOWER THE ELEC TRIM. A PLT FLYING IN THE ACC AREA AT THE SAME TIME REPORTED NO TURBULENCE.

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

DESIGN STRESS LIMITS OF AIRCRAFT..EXCEEDED..PILOT IN COMMAND

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