On August 28, 2000, about 1550 mountain standard time, a Cessna 210E, N210DL, made a hard landing at the Holbrook, Arizona, airport. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot and one passenger were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal flight departed Dalhart, Texas, about 1330 central daylight time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The Safety Board was notified of the accident on September 21, 2000, following confirmation of the degree of damage.

The pilot stated that he flew the approach as he had normally done in the past, with the landing gear extended, wing flaps partially extended, and elevator trim set at the full nose up position. He utilized power to stay on glideslope and maintained airspeed of about 85 miles per hour until short final, when he slowed to about 75 miles per hour.

The pilot stated that on this approach he began to preflare about 500 feet from the landing threshold. He applied backpressure to the elevator, but stated that nothing happened. He applied more back elevator with no effect. He began adding power about 20 feet above the runway to arrest the airplane's descent, but was still nose low. He added power to bring the nose up, but the airplane began to climb. By this time, he approximated that he was 1,500 to 2,000 feet down the runway. He felt that he did not have elevator control and thought it would be too risky to attempt a go-around and approach with that condition. He elected to land, even though it would probably result in damage to the airplane. He reduced power and the airplane touched down on the nose wheel and began to porpoise. On the third bounce, the nose wheel collapsed and the airplane came to a stop on the runway.

The pilot removed the rear cabin panel in order to turn off the emergency locator transmitter. He noticed that the elevator cables were loose and sagging. He checked the cables to the tail cone and noted that they appeared to be intact and connected.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accident coordinator examined the airplane, and reported that he did not observe any mechanical anomalies that would account for the loss of elevator effectiveness.

The pilot reported that the firewall was pushed in. During the repair process, he said maintenance personnel discovered one pulley that would not move, and another pulley on the firewall exhibited scratch marks. However, they did not observe any cable or pulley wear. Figure 82A of the Cessna 210 illustrated Parts Catalog illustrates the elevator control system. The Safety Board investigator examined another Cessna 210 of the same model, and observed that one of the pulleys in the elevator control system was attached to the engine firewall.

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