NTSB Identification: LAX02LA202.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 18, 2002 in Antioch, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Yakovlev YAK 52, registration: N644LL
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

A witness located north east of the accident site, observed the airplane "starting a vertical climb, slowly rolling over and diving straight down." The witness stated that the airplane "never appeared to be trying to pull out of the dive." Subsequently, the witness lost sight of the airplane behind a mountain, and heard the "sound of impact." Examination of the wreckage revealed a screwdriver located in the aft section of the fuselage. Multiple witness marks were observed around the elevator bellcrank housing, and numerous gouges on the screwdriver. When the screwdriver was placed between the elevator bellcrank and housing, and the bellcrank moved by hand, the elevator control was restricted to the neutral position. The energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy analysis performed on the screwdriver conclusively demonstrated that the screwdriver was lodged between the various structural items.

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

The loss of control while performing acrobatic maneuvers due to a screwdriver restricting elevator travel. A contributing factor was the airplane's fuselage not being sterile of foreign objects.

Full narrative available

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