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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN16FA145
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 08, 2016 in Midlothian, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/31/2017
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7GCBC, registration: N5046N
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor was demonstrating a takeoff to the student pilot in the tailwheel-equipped airplane. During the takeoff, the instructor was flying the airplane and was seated in the rear seat, with the student pilot observing and following along on the flight controls in the front seat. The instructor stated that, as the airplane lifted off the runway, he could not move the control stick. The airplane continued to climb in an increasingly nose-high pitch attitude, and the instructor stated that his efforts to apply forward pressure on the control stick had "no effect." The airplane subsequently experienced an aerodynamic stall and impacted the ground.
Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation, and examination of the flight controls found no evidence of interference. While the flight instructor expected the student pilot to follow along on the control stick, it could not be determined if the student interfered with the movement of the controls. With the instructor unable to move the elevator control and reduce the nose-high pitch attitude of the airplane, the airplane exceeded its critical angle of attack and experienced an aerodynamic stall.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The flight instructor's inability to move the control stick after takeoff for undetermined reasons, which resulted in an exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack and inadvertent aerodynamic stall. The reason for the inability to move the control stick could not be determined, because postaccident examination revealed no evidence of flight control malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.