NTSB Identification: WPR11CA112
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 28, 2011 in Buckeye, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/08/2011
Aircraft: HARVEY PATTEN RANS S-6ES, registration: N8053R
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While in cruise flight the pilot realized that he had lost elevator control. The pilot attempted to determine if there was any way to reestablish elevator control but was unsuccessful. He was able to maintain pitch control by increasing or decreasing engine power. During a precautionary landing the airplane impacted the runway hard and sustained substantial damage to the firewall. On-scene inspection of the aircraft’s elevator control system revealed that the bolt that connects the aft elevator push-pull control tube to the pilot and copilot's control stick bellcrank was missing, and was not found during a thorough inspection of the area. In addition, the bolt that connects the forward push-pull tube to the control stick bellcrank was ready to fall out. These bolts are an AN-type drilled shank bolt requiring a castellated nut and cotter pin for security. Neither of the nuts or cotter pins were found. The aircraft had 197 hours total time. The last condition inspection was performed 2 months and 24 operating hours prior to the accident. It could not be determined if the cotter pin had ever been installed.

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

A disconnection of the elevator control linkage due to incorrect installation or maintenance, which was due to the retaining nut backing off the bolt and allowing the bolt to fall out.

Full narrative available

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