SEA05LA098
SEA05LA098

On May 13, 2005, approximately 1745 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 150M, N704JJ, was destroyed after impacting terrain during climb out after taking off from the Elk River Airport (ID85), Elk River, Idaho. The commercial rated pilot received serious injuries, while the sole passenger received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, which was conducted in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight's destination was the Lewiston-Nez Perce Country Airport, Lewiston, Idaho.

In a telephone interview with the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that he wasn't concerned about taking off to the south, even though there was rising terrain in that direction and this was his first time into the airport. The pilot stated that after taking off, "...the airplane was not coordinated, with the ball out to the left I think. My passenger had placed his feet on the rudder pedals before in cruise flight. He just froze up." The pilot reported that he told his passenger to get his feet off of the rudders, but there was no response. The pilot stated that after realizing that he couldn't get the rudder pedals to move he decided to return to the airfield. The pilot reported that he decided to make a left turn, but when he was in the left turn he realized it wasn't coordinated, and again could not deflect the rudder pedals. The pilot further reported that at about this time the passenger grabbed the yoke and screamed out loud. "I was still trying to fly but felt a force on the yoke. [I was] still above the green arc with the stall warning going off." The pilot reported that he didn't remember anything after that. The pilot stated that there were no anomalies with the airplane on the flight to ID85, which would have precluded normal operations. Numerous requests by the IIC to have the pilot submit a Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) proved unsuccessful. The pilot was reported to have returned to his country of residence in Norway.

Local law enforcement personnel provided 11 witness statements to the IIC. Three witnesses reported that the airplane was taking off to the south, with one witness commenting that he had never seen a plane take off in that direction in his 20 years in the area, while another witness stated that the airplane was taking off in the wrong direction. Five witnesses reported seeing the airplane taking off, banking to the left in a low turn, and then impacting trees before going out of sight. One witness reported that the pilot commented after the accident that he was having mechanical problems, while another witness stated that he overheard the pilot state that the passenger panicked, causing a loss of control and eventual crash. Another witness reported that the airplane had no problem taking off. The witness related it appeared it would clear the tree line to the south, but then suddenly veered left before the nose went straight up, then left and straight down into the trees. The witness also reported that the pilot commented after the crash that the passenger had panicked and grabbed the controls. (Refer to attached witness statements.)

In an interview with a FAA aviation safety inspector, the pilot reported that the non-rated pilot passenger, who was more than 6 feet tall, had a tendency to place his feet on the airplane's rudder pedals. The pilot further reported that after taking off and while in the left turn, he noticed the turn wasn't coordinated and that the passenger had his right foot on the right rudder pedal. The pilot stated that prior to the crash the passenger "freaked out and got on the controls."

On May 13, 2005, a Teledyne Continental Motors representative, under the supervision of a FAA air safety inspector, examined the aircraft wreckage at the facilities of Discount Aircraft Salvage, Deer Park, Washington. The examination revealed that the engine was separated from the airframe with aft displacement of the firewall. The left seat was observed intact and attached to the airframe, while the right seat was observed intact but separated from the airframe. Buckling was noted to the floor and roof structures. The right wing was observed attached but displaced rearward 3 feet, with the wing's leading edge crushed aft to the forward spar. The left wing was separated from the airframe at the wing attach points. The wing was observed in two pieces with the separation occurring at the flap aileron junction. Both left and right wing flaps were observed in the UP position. The fuel selector was observed in the ON position. Control continuity was established from all flight control surfaces up to the cockpit. The propeller was observed with forward displacement of one blade and S-bending noted to the other. Engine continuity was established, with thumb compression observed in all cylinders. Both magnetos were capable of producing spark when turned by hand.

At 1756, the weather reporting station located at the Lewiston-Nez Perce Country Airport, Lewiston, Idaho, which is 46 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, reported wind 080 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 26 degrees C, dew point 8 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of Mercury. The density altitude was calculated to be approximately 4,600 feet at the time of the accident.

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