NTSB Identification: LAX08LA288
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 29, 2008 in Gerlach, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2009
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp. SR-22, registration: N287SR
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

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 during takeoff from the dirt airstrip, upon reaching an airspeed of about 60 knots, the airplane nosed up, became airborne, and then stalled. He attempted to recover; however, the airplane impacted the ground tail first. Data recorded by the airplane's primary flight display (PFD) indicated that the airplane lifted off at about 61 knots, pitched up from about 9 to 18 degrees nose up, rolled from about 0 to 20 degrees left bank, and stalled about 20 feet above the ground. The PFD data indicated that the airplane impacted in a wings-level, slightly nose-high attitude. The main landing gear separated from the airplane and the tail section partially separated from the fuselage. The pilot attributed the accident to a previously known and repetitive malfunction of the airplane's electric pitch trim. The airplane's pitch trim system uses a spring cartridge attached to the elevator bell crank and activated by an electric motor. When activated by a switch on the control yoke, the trim motor moves the spring cartridge causing the elevator to move the elevator to a new trimmed position. Postaccident examination of the trim mechanism in the tail revealed that it was in a neutral (takeoff) position, not a full nose up position as would be expected if the trim system had malfunctioned. The elevator moved freely through its entire range of motion with no indication of jamming. There did not appear to be any impact damage to the trim mechanism or to its mounting structure. The trim motor electrical connector was found disconnected. It could not be determined whether the connector was pulled apart during the impact sequence or had been intentionally disconnected. Using a battery for power, the trim motor was tested and found to be capable of driving the trim through its full range of motion from the full nose-up to the full nose-down position. The Pilot's Operating Handbook for the airplane states that "it is possible to easily override full trim or autopilot inputs by using normal control inputs."

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during an uncommanded pitch-up during the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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