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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN15IA200
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Incident occurred Saturday, April 04, 2015 in Brickeys, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/14/2015
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 402A, registration: N623LA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

The pilot reported that, during an agricultural application pass, the elevator control felt abnormal. The pilot chose to return to the airport and noted that the elevator control was unresponsive. The pilot attempted to maintain pitch control by using the elevator trim, but turbulence made this difficult. During the off-field landing, the airplane’s nose pitched down. The pilot countered with nose-up trim, and the airplane stalled and then impacted the ground, which resulted in minor damage to the propeller.
A postincident examination revealed that the attachment hardware, including the bolt and nut, at the elevator pushrod had separated. Maintenance had been performed on the elevator control pushrod about 20 hours before the incident flight, and the bolt and nut would have been removed and reinstalled during this maintenance. It is likely that maintenance personnel did not properly reinstall the attachment hardware after performing the maintenance.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident as follows:
  • The in-flight separation of the attachment hardware at the elevator control pushrod due to maintenance personnel's improper reinstallation of the attachment hardware.