FAA ‘Found A Damaged Flight Control Cable That Appeared To Connect To The Right Aileron’

Location: Bowie, TX Accident Number: CEN20LA150
Date & Time: 04/19/2020, 1500 CDT Registration: N3670P
Aircraft: Piper PA 18 Injuries: 2 None

On April 19, 2020, about 1500 central daylight time, a Piper PA-18 airplane, N3670P, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Bowie, Texas. The pilot and pilot-rated-passenger onboard were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that he and the pilot-rated-passenger departed his home airport and flew to a friend’s private grass field, which was about 5 nautical miles south. He landed on the grass field and reported that the flight was uneventful. The pilot shut down the engine and stayed at the location for about 10 minutes until they decided to return to their home airport. The pilot taxied the airplane to the south end of the field, completed an engine run-up, and “checked all systems,” with no anomalies noted. The pilot started the ground roll on a 300° heading and extended the flaps around 40 mph indicated airspeed (IAS). The airplane lifted off with a normal ascent rate so the pilot began to retract the flaps about 50 mph IAS. The pilot reported that “it felt like a gust [of wind] picked our left wing up,” so he pushed the control stick to the left, but the airplane did not respond. He moved the control stick back to neutral then again to the left, but the airplane still did not respond. The airplane continued to bank right and descend as the pilot attempted to bring the wings level. As the airplane approached the ground the pilot pulled the throttle to idle, then the airplane struck a metal building frame on the northeast side of the field. The airplane came to rest upright and the two occupants egressed without injury.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector completed an initial examination of the wreckage and found a damaged flight control cable that appeared to connect to the right aileron. Due to the disposition of the wreckage, a complete examination was not possible.

The airplane has been retained for a detailed flight control system examination

FMI: www.ntsb.gov