The flight department of Greek-based construction company Consolidated Contractors International was faced with a challenge when the group’s 82-year-old chairman asked them to fit his Bombardier Challenger 601-3R with a wheelchair lift. Their boss’ arthritic knees made boarding the aircraft painful, and he was sick of the indignity of having to have the crew lift him up the steps.
RAYTHEON BEECH 1900D, ALBANY, N.Y., OCT. 16, 2003–During the takeoff roll of a Beech 1900, operated by CommutAir as Continental Connection Flight 8718, the flight crew was unable to rotate the airplane and aborted the takeoff uneventfully. Examination revealed that when the elevator trim wheel in the cockpit was positioned to neutral, the elevator trim was actually in the full nose-down position.
The FAA has amended an earlier Airworthiness Directive for all Airbus A320-series aircraft, requiring operators to modify elevator control systems to prevent vibration problems caused by excessive freeplay. The AD applies to the A319 (which is the basis for the Airbus Corporate Jetliner), the A320 and the A321.
Operators of U.S.-registered CitationJets must disengage the pitch-trim/ autopilot circuit breakers to prevent runaway pitch trim, a condition that has led to at least one accident, according to an October 21 AD (2203-21-17). A CitationJet was ditched on July 22 in Penn Cove in Coupeville, Wash., following a loss of elevator trim control, resulting in an uncommanded nose-down pitch attitude.
BEECH 1900D, HYANNIS, MASS., AUG. 26, 2003–At approximately 7:38 p.m. EDT Beech N240CJ, operated by Colgan Air, crashed after takeoff from Runway 24 at Barnstable Municipal Airport (HYA) in Hyannis. Both pilots–captain Scott Knabe, 39, and first officer Steven Dean, 38–the only occupants, were killed and the aircraft was destroyed.
Inconsistencies between the Mitsubishi MU-2B elevator trim indicator scale dial and the elevator trim mechanical stop have prompted the FAA to issue an airworthiness directive, requiring owners to modify the scale dial so that it is consistent with elevator trim capability. The inconsistency has led to several incidents in which pilots mistakenly assumed that more nose-down trim was available and inadvertently jammed the trim system.
Bombardier Learjet 35A, Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 10, 2007–Descending through FL200, the captain of the Airnet Systems cargo flight intentionally attempted an aileron roll and lost control. The Learjet “oversped,” said the captain, producing “excessive g loads.” The airplane recovered, but there was substantial damage
On December 1 Learjet 36 N26FN with two pilots and one passenger aboard lost its right elevator while maneuvering off the coast of San Diego. L-3 Communications Flight Capital was operating the airplane under Part 91. The NTSB said the local public-use flight departed North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, about 9:30 a.m. VMC prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.
Ed Duracka, director of aircraft maintenance for Safeway Insurance, made a chilling discovery while complying with Cessna Alert Service Letter (ASL) 750-29-09. The Romeoville, Ill., Lewis University Airport-based flight department operates a Cessna Citation X.
Swearingen SA-226TC, Denver, April 5, 2006–The NTSB blamed the accident on the failure of the elevator down cable due to improper routing. A factor was the improper inspection of the elevator cable by maintenance personnel. The installation caused the cable to wear against a guide until it failed.
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