On Sunday, August 15, 1993, at 1428 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 177A, N30393, piloted by Richard O'Loughlin, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to the Lawrence Municipal Airport, Lawrence, Massachusetts. The pilot was not injured and the passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. A flight plan had not been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR 91.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated:

"I preflighted the plane...I placed the sun shields in the area behind the rear seat, and the battery box cover appeared to be in place. After...I flew...6-10 miles north...encountered turbulence...strong enough to hit my head on top of cabin...headed back to Lawrence. Shortly after, I could smell smoke...1-2 minutes later I lost complete elevator control...contacted the tower...declared an emergency. I then flew the plane using only the trim and the throttle. I...established a controlled descent, and when I reached the runway I was unable to raise the nose...for landing. Subsequently, damage was done to the nose area and front gear...."

Post accident investigation by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector revealed that both elevator primary control cables and the right rudder cable were severed. The cable ends were burned. The supporting pulley assembly also sustained burns.

The battery was found inverted in front of the battery box. The positive battery terminal showed signs of arcing. The battery box cover was found under the window sun shields, behind the rear seat. Both battery box cover hold down security pins were found in place and fastened. The security pins were intact and showed no signs of bending.

The records of the last annual inspection, completed on June 18, 1993, revealed that the battery box cover was removed and reinstalled during the battery service.

In the FAA Inspector's report he stated:

"The battery was able to exit the box and come to rest with the positive post in contact with the control cables. This was because...the cover was not properly installed, secondly, the battery cables are to long."

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