NTSB Identification: LAX07TA051.
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Accident occurred Friday, December 01, 2006 in San Diego, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Learjet 36, registration: N26FN
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

The airplane sustained an in-flight loss of the right elevator during an in-flight upset while maneuvering. The pilot was flying the airplane from the left seat. The mishap airplane rendezvoused with another Learjet to begin a series of profiles for flight testing. The crew noted that the horizon was very difficult to discern. While maneuvering for the second set of data points, the pilot lost sight of the other airplane, and rolled right to remain clear. His vision was impaired by the glare from the sun, which delayed his recognition of the airplane entering an unusual attitude. The pilot initiated recovery with the airplane in an estimated 70-degree right bank, 50-degree nose down attitude, and an airspeed of 380 KIAS. During the dive, the crew noted that the airplane was definitely shuddering, but did not recall any rolling tendencies or vibration of the control yoke. The crew conducted a controllability check by slowing it to 150 KIAS and lowering the landing gear. Again the airplane exhibited no unusual flight characteristics. The remainder of the flight and landing were uneventful. During post flight inspection, the aircrew discovered that the right elevator was missing.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering, which resulted in exceeding the design stress limits of the aircraft. Contributing to the accident was the sunglare.

Full narrative available

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