SEA01LA141
SEA01LA141

On July 21, 2001, approximately 1920 Pacific daylight time, a Taylor Smith Mini DSA-1 homebuilt aircraft, N53BT, registered to and being flown by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain during an uncontrolled descent near Sultan, Washington. The pilot, who had bailed out of the aircraft prior to ground impact, was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14 CFR 91, and originated from Ephrata, Washington, approximately 1830.

The pilot reported that while flying westbound along US Highway 2, and approaching Sultan, Washington, he made an elevator input and became aware that the control stick had no effect on pitch attitude. He allowed the aircraft to climb for a short time after which it began a "pushover." The pilot retarded the throttle to idle, exited the aircraft and parachuted to the ground. The aircraft descended out of control impacting in an open field several thousand feet west of the Sultan airport. There was no post impact fire and no property damage aside from the aircraft.

An FAA inspector subsequently interviewed the pilot. He reported that the pilot stated "...he had no control over the elevator prior to bailing out of the aircraft..." and that "...the stick was not jammed, it just moved full travel with no effect on the elevator...."

The pilot subsequently reported that a one-quarter inch diameter bolt, which connects the control stick push rod to the elevator actuating bellcrank, could not be found in the wreckage. Loss of this bolt would result in a disconnection between the pilot's control stick and the elevator. The pilot also recommended the use of a locknut rather than the previously used castle nut and cotter pin.

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