NTSB Identification: CEN11FA312
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 01, 2011 in Elephant Butte, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/2013
Aircraft: COMBS EARL W KITFOX SPEEDSTER, registration: N89MM
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was on a local flight from a nearby airport. Two witnesses, who were driving north on an interstate highway, said the airplane was flying south about 1,000 feet above the ground when it pitched upward, rolled to the right, and then spiraled toward the ground. The witnesses said that they did not see any fire or smoke before they lost sight of the airplane. However, they subsequently saw a plume of smoke rising from behind a hill. A postaccident examination of the airplane wreckage showed that the airplane impacted the terrain in a right bank, slightly nose low attitude, then spun around to the left. A postimpact fire consumed most of the airplane structure. An examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. A rod end for a push-pull tube between the flap handle and the flaperon mixer unit was found failed in overload at the outer two threads. Although this finding indicates potential problems with the construction and/or maintenance of the airplane, there is no indication that it contributed to the accident. Forensic toxicology testing of the pilot’s liver and kidney detected Diphenhyramine; however, the level of Diphenhydramine was not substantive enough to be determined and its presence most likely did not induce impairment.

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

The pilot's loss of control of the airplane for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Full narrative available

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