Factual Report: Elevator trim implicated in Citation overrun

 - January 29, 2007, 10:12 AM

Cessna Citation 550 Bravo, Bethany, Okla., May 20, 2002–Citation N13VP was substantially damaged when it hit a perimeter fence and road during a runway overrun after an aborted takeoff at the Wiley Post Airport. The ATP-rated pilot and four passengers were not injured. One passenger sustained minor injuries. VMC prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed for the Part 91 business flight. The airplane was operated by Avalon Correctional Services of Oklahoma City.

The recently released factual report shows that the pilot did not notice any problems with the airplane during preflight or while taxiing for takeoff. He found the flight controls to be “free and correct.” He initiated the takeoff roll from the end of 7,198-foot Runway 17L, and upon reaching V1 (103 knots), he began to pull back on the control column. The nosegear did not lift off with full aft control input, and the pilot decided to abort. The airspeed was 120 knots. The pilot applied maximum braking and steered to the right to miss an array of antennas. The airplane left the runway, went through the southern airport perimeter fence, crossed a road, ran through another fence on the opposite side of the road, and eventually stopped upright in a muddy field.

In 1996 the airplane had been involved in a landing accident in Coberg, Germany, while operated by the previous owner. It suffered substantial structural damage, which was repaired at Cessna’s Citation Service Center in Wichita. The current owner bought the airplane in 2001. The pilot said he last flew the airplane on May 16, 2002, and did not notice any anomalies with the elevator trim system or braking.

Cessna engineers calculated an accelerate/ stop distance for the airplane using a stop-initiation speed of 120 knots. According to their calculations the accelerate/stop distance would have been approximately 5,000 feet. Tire skid marks on the runway measured 1,765 feet until they departed the runway.

The elevator trim wheel indicator was positioned to the takeoff position; the measured elevator trim-tab deflection was 10.5 degrees tab up (nose down). According to the Cessna maintenance manual, the elevator trim tab should be 1.5 degrees tab down (nose up) with the elevator trim wheel indicator set at the takeoff position. The total deflection difference was 12 degrees.

The elevator trim wheel wobbled when it was rotated. The wheel grooves showed evidence of a prior repair with epoxy, and worn grooves were visible. The bolt that secures the trim wheel assembly had a bend in its shank.

Crane Aerospace Hydro-Aire examined the antiskid components and found damage to the servo valve cover, which more than likely “occurred as a result of the accident.”