NTSB Identification: SEA07LA118.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, May 02, 2007 in Kayenta, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/2008
Aircraft: Beech V35B, registration: N3210L
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 reported that the airplane was at a cruise altitude of 12,500 feet msl on a cross-country flight when he experienced a sudden and complete loss of ruddervator control. The pilot said that control of the airplane was regained after reducing engine power to 1,500 rpm, and stabilizing the airspeed at 100-knots. He added that subsequent airplane control was accomplished via aileron and power inputs. The pilot flew to an airport about 75 miles from where the loss of control occurred. On short final for the intended runway, he lowered the landing gear. The airplane entered a dive and collided with terrain about 300 yards short of the runway in a nose-low attitude, which resulted in structural damage to the airframe. According to first responders to the accident, the pilot told them that he encountered severe turbulence, and momentarily lost control of the airplane. Examination of the airplane revealed that both ruddervators had separated from their respective stabilizer attach points at some earlier time during the flight. The ruddervators were not found at the accident site, and only remnants remained attached to the hinge points on the stabilizers. The remaining pieces of ruddervator were examined. The examination revealed no evidence of preexisting cracks, fatigue, or corrosion damage, and all fracture features were consistent with overstress separations. For the portions of the flight documented by radar coverage, the data indicated calculated true airspeeds routinely above design maneuvering speed (VA-132-kts), with two sustained periods at design cruising speed (VC-165-kts), and occasional periods 5 to 12-knots above VC. There's no evidence indicating that the airplane's never-exceed speed (VNE-195-kts) was exceeded. An AIRMET (Airman's Meteorological Information) for moderate turbulence was issued during the timeframe of the accident, and included the route of flight.

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

The overstress separation of both ruddervators during cruise flight. Contributing to the accident was the flight's encounter with turbulence.

Full narrative available

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