On August 26, 2011, about 1252 central daylight time, a WSK PZL Mielec, M-18 Dromader, N7070L, impacted terrain after takeoff from runway 24 (5,504 feet by 100 feet) at the Albertus Airport, Freeport, Illinois. The pilot received serious injuries. The airplane sustained impact and fire damage to the fuselage, both wings, the vertical tail, and the engine. The flight was registered to and operated by S. A. S. Aerial Application under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137, as an aerial application flight. Visual flight rules (VFR) conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operating on a flight plan. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that the engine operated normally during a pretakeoff run-up and during the takeoff roll. He said that after liftoff, the airplane did not climb well. The airplane almost struck a house and he turned downwind to avoid terrain. The pilot stated that the airplane stalled and landed flat in the field and flipped over. The pilot reported no mechanical failures or malfunctions of the airplane.

Examination of the airplane after the accident revealed that the forward elevator control push rod had a bend that effectively limited up elevator travel. The bend in the push rod did not appear to have occurred during the accident. Measurement of the elevator elevator control travel revealed 15 degrees of up elevator travel and 19 degrees of down elevator travel when measured at the elevator control surface. According to a European Aviation Safety Agency Type Certificate Data Sheet for the airplane, the elevator travel limits were specified as 27 degrees up elevator and 17 degrees down elevator. Additionally, tool marks and denting were found on the aft elevator control push rod consistent with use of a pliers type tool.

During the on-scene examination of the airplane it was discovered that a shipment for the pilot/owner containing a new elevator push rod had arrived at the departure airport after the accident and had not been installed at the time of the accident. The shipping date on the shipper label indicated that the package was shipped on the same date as the accident date.

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