On April 9, 2004, about 1500 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182S, N518CR, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to the Robertson Airport (4B8), Plainville, Connecticut. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight destined for the Waterbury-Oxford Airport (OXC), Oxford, Connecticut. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he had consulted an avionics mechanic two days before the accident about the elevator control being stiff and difficult to move. The mechanic examined the airplane and stated that "it checked out OK, but there was a possibility that at some time, the elevator servo might jam in an unscheduled position." The pilot and mechanic agreed that the servos would be replaced at a later date.

On the day of the accident, the pilot arrived at the airport to fly the airplane to OXC. The pilot preflighted the airplane, which included a ground test of the autopilot, and subsequently departed.

During the climbout, the pilot could not lower the nose of the airplane without using excessive force on the yoke. He then attempted to use the manual elevator trim wheel to lower the nose. When the manual elevator trim wheel was rolled forward, and released, it rolled back on its own to the original position. The pilot performed all of the published emergencies; however, the situation did not change.

The pilot elected to discontinue the flight, and performed a forced landing to 4B8.

While landing on runway 20, the airplane had an excessive nose high attitude, and the pilot aggressively pushed the nose over with the yoke. The airplane touched down hard, and the propeller struck the runway, creasing the firewall, before sliding to a stop on the runway.

The pilot further stated that he did not recall engaging the autopilot during the flight, and did not attempt to use the elevator trim switch located on the yoke.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed no abnormalities with the autopilot, or the flight controls when they were tested.

In a subsequent interview with the pilot, he stated that after the accident, the autopilot servos were replaced, and no abnormalities with the servos have been noted since.

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