On May 5, 2009 at 1449 central daylight time a Cessna Citation model 551, N740JB experienced temporary loss of control while in cruise flight at 16,000 feet. The airline transport pilot (ATP) and passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the loss of control. The airplane and operated by Ballard Aviation, Incorporated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions prevailed, which operated on an IFR flight plan. The flight originated at Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO), Stillwater, Oklahoma, at 1430, with a destination of Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (ICT), Wichita, Kansas.

In a written statement provided to the NTSB the pilot reported that after leveling at 16,000 feet with the autopilot engaged he began to review his charts preparing for landing at ICT. When he scanned the instruments, he noted the flight director was flagged off; and both the pilot and co-pilot attitude indicators were off. He declared an emergency with air traffic control (ATC), reduced the throttles to idle, and pulled back on the controls. The pilot added that as the airspeed approached 200 knots, he lowered the landing gear. When the airplane broke through the bottom of the clouds, the airplane was in a 60-degree left turn and approximately 80 knots of airspeed. The ATP managed to regained control of the airplane and level the airplane at approximately 6,100 feet. The flight director and all instruments began working again and he ATP re-engaged the autopilot and continued to ICT where he landed without further incident.

The airplane was recovered to the Cessna aircraft company facilities in Wichita, Kansas for examination. Inspection of the airframe revealed that structural damage to the airplaneā€™s fuselage and wings, during the recovery from the rapid decent.

Flight instruments including the flight director system, gyros, and attitude indicators were removed and examined for evidence of failure or malfunction. No anomalies were found and the described failures could not be duplicated.

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