Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

More Alerts For GA Pilots

No matter how extensively you test on the ground, the proof comes in the air

At 12:04, the crew contacted ATC and stated they needed to return. They were cleared to land on runway 5L. The controller asked the flight if emergency equipment was needed. The response was, "Negative." At that time, radar indicated the airplane was midway along in the downwind, at about 900 feet AGL. The ground speed was 171 knots. When turning to base leg, it had descended to about 187 feet AGL at 196 knots ground speed. The impact was about one mile southwest of the runway at about 12:06.

As part of the accident investigation, the elevator pitch control system was inspected. It was determined that the elevator pitch trim cables had been reversed, so that when the crew was trimming for nose-down, nose-up trim was being applied, and when they were trying to put in nose-up trim, the elevator trim system actually applied nose-down trim.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was the improper (reverse) rigging of the elevator trim cables by company maintenance personnel and their subsequent failure to discover the mis-rigging during required post-maintenance checks. Contributing to the accident was the captain's inadequate post-maintenance preflight check and the flight crew's improper response to the trim problem.

Cessna 310
A twin-engine Cessna 310 was substantially damaged during a crash near Stotts City, Mo. The commercial pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The Part 91 flight originated from the Monett Regional Airport (HFJ), Monett, Mo., and was headed to a private airstrip in Miller, Mo. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

According to a witness, this was the first flight with a newly overhauled right engine. He said the pilots had originally planned the flight two days earlier, but postponed it because of discrepancies.

A mechanic who overhauled the engine reported that the pilot-rated passenger asked him if he'd fix the flat nose gear strut, and that he replied it would take at least a day to complete the repair. The owner told the mechanic that since he planned to fly the airplane to Ohio later that week for a corrosion inspection, he'd have it fixed then. He said that in the meantime, he'd fly with the landing gear extended because he was concerned the gear would get stuck in the nose well. As a temporary fix, the mechanic used shop air to inflate the nose gear strut.

During the preflight inspection on the day of the accident, the pilots noted the nose gear strut was flat again, and there was another discussion about keeping the gear extended for the flight. The two pilots boarded the accident airplane, started the engines and taxied toward the runway. The airplane stopped on the taxiway, and the engines were run-up three or four times. The pilots then taxied back to the hangar and shut the engines down. One said the right propeller wasn't "feathering" and needed to be fixed. The mechanic was phoned and asked to come out to the airport.


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