NTSB Identification: NYC07IA194.
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Incident occurred Thursday, August 16, 2007 in New Bern, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-44-180, registration: N30521
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

During initial climb, the certified flight instructor (CFI) noticed very little resistance from the stabilator; however, he was able to land the airplane uneventfully using stabilator trim. Examination of the airplane revealed that the stabilator control cable turnbuckle terminal fitting had failed due to corrosion. The National Transportation Safety Board had issued a recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), more than 6 years prior to the incident. The Safety Board recommended that the FAA issue an airworthiness directive (AD) to require recurrent visual inspections for evidence of corrosion on control cable terminals, and the inspections should be performed after removal of any safety wire or safety clips on the terminals. At that time, the airplane manufacturer had committed to revising its maintenance manuals to include similar instruction. At the time of the incident, the airplane manufacturer had issued a service letter, but had not yet updated their maintenance manuals; and the FAA had issued a non-mandatory Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin in lieu of an AD. A mechanic performed an annual inspection of the incident airplane, and returned it to service, 21 days prior to the incident. The mechanic stated that he inspected the incident airplane's control cables for damage during its recent annual inspection; however, he believed he missed the corrosion on the turnbuckle terminal fitting due to a safety wire that covered it. The mechanic added that when he performed the annual inspection he was not aware of a manufacturer service letter or an FAA SAIB regarding the inspection for corrosion.

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

A failure of the stabilator control cable turnbuckle terminal fitting due to corrosion. Contributing to the accident were the mechanic's inadequate annual inspection, and the aircraft manufacturer's failure to provide adequate information in its maintenance manuals regarding the inspection of control cable terminals for corrosion.

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