NTSB Identification: CEN12IA554
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Incident occurred Wednesday, August 15, 2012 in Des Moines, IA
Aircraft: CESSNA 560XL, registration: N108EK
Injuries: 8 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

On August 15, 2012, about 1000 central daylight time, a Cessna 560XL, N108EK, diverted to Des Moines International Airport (DSM), Des Moines, Iowa, following an altitude deviation during cruise at Flight Level (FL) 400. The two pilots and six passengers were not injured. The airplane sustained minor damage. The aircraft was registered to New Heights Aviation LLC and operated by Elliott Aviation under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from Flying Cloud Airport (FCM), Flying Cloud, Minnesota, about 0925, with an intended destination of Arlington Municipal Airport (GKY), Arlington, Texas.

The flight crew reported that after about 10 minutes of cruise flight at 40,000 feet pressure altitude, they observed an autopilot pitch trim mis-compare annunciation. As they began to reference the applicable checklist, the autopilot automatically disengaged and the airplane suddenly pitched down to about 20 degrees. The flight crew recovered and leveled the airplane at 33,000 feet pressure altitude. They subsequently elected to divert to DSM and landed without further incident.

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