FTW01LA204
FTW01LA204

On September 6, 2001, approximately 0710 central daylight time, a Cessna A188B agricultural airplane, N2162J, was destroyed by terrain impact and fire near Harrisonburg, Louisiana. The airplane was registered to and operated by Mowata Flying Service, Inc., of Eunice, Louisiana. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 positioning flight. The flight originated from Jonesville Airport, Jonesville, Louisiana, at 0700, and was en route to the Robbins Flying Service private airstrip located approximately 5 miles northeast of the Jonesville Airport.

According to the operator, the pilot reported that "while making an approach to land" at the Robbins Flying Service airstrip, "the control stick locking device [gust lock] fell in the lock position, causing the control stick to jam, he was very low, causing the aircraft to hit the ground" short of the airstrip.

The FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, reported that the airplane impacted the ground on an easterly direction. The airplane's left wing struck the ground and the airplane cart wheeled separating both wings. The airplane's cockpit area was consumed by fire.

The airplane wreckage was transported to Windance Salvage, Ben Wheeler, Texas.

According to the aircraft manufacturer, the gust lock on this aircraft consists of a barrel that fits over the control column. The gust lock is attached to a horizontal support bar under the instrument panel. Two springs on the lock are designed to keep the lock under the instrument panel when the lock is not in use. To engage the gust lock, the assembly is rotated by hand from under the instrument panel to a point above the aircraft control stick. The barrel portion of the lock is then lowered onto the control stick.

An examination of the airframe and engine was conducted by representatives of Cessna Aircraft and Teledyne Continental Motors under the supervision of the FAA at Windance Salvage on September 20, 2001. The barrel portion of the control lock could not be located and no evidence of contact with the control lock barrel was noted on the control stick. The portion of the control lock that attaches to the horizontal support under the instrument panel was located. The springs designed to swing the lock out of the way were still present. The control stick had separated from the aircraft frame at its mounting point. No structural or mechanical anomalies were observed during the examination.

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