Saturday, April 18, 2020

Flight Control System Malfunction/Failure: Beech G35, N4654D; accident occurred February 08, 2018 at Batesville Regional Airport (KBVX), Independence County, Arkansas

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Batesville, AR
Accident Number: CEN18LA099
Date & Time: 02/08/2018, 1415 CST
Registration: N4654D
Aircraft: Beech 35
Aircraft Damage:Substantial 
Defining Event: Flight control sys malf/fail
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On February 8, 2018, about 1415 central standard time, a Beech G35 airplane, N4654D, sustained substantial damage during a flutter event near Batesville Regional Airport (BVX), near Batesville, Arkansas. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Beaufort County Airport (ARW), Beaufort, South Carolina, at an unconfirmed time.

The pilot reported that most of the flight was uneventful, and the airplane had performed "flawlessly". After about 4 hours of cruising flight, while descending through about 3,500 ft. msl, at 145 kts airspeed, the airplane encountered a few seconds of turbulence, followed by shaking coming from the tail of the airplane. The pilot reduced engine power and pulled back slightly on the yoke. The shaking stopped and the airplane seemed to be handling normally. The airplane then landed at BVX and upon exiting the airplane the pilot noticed the damage to the fuselage. The pilot noted that the flight was smooth except for the short period of turbulence encountered near the destination airport.

The accident airplane was equipped with a V-tail empennage arrangement. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed buckling and wrinkling of the aft fuselage skins. All of the control cables running to the tail surfaces were loose and determination of the control cable tension prior to the event was not possible because of the aft fuselage damage. A balance check of the ruddervators revealed the left was tail heavy with a measured moment of 19.04 inch-lbs, and the right was tail heavy with a measured moment of 18.76 inch-lbs. According to the maintenance manual the acceptable maximum tail heavy moment for the accident airplane ruddervators was 19.8 inch-lbs.

The Pilot's Operating Handbook for the accident airplane listed a maximum structural cruising speed of 152 kts, and a maneuvering speed of 113 kts.

The airplane manufacturer issued a Safety Communique in 1993 which stated that to prevent flutter in any model airplane, control cable tension inspections should be performed and that after re-painting of control surfaces, verification of the control surface balance should be performed. Additionally, the G35 model was included in the effectivity for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Directive (AD) 94-20-04 R2 which was issued to prevent structural failure of the V-tail, which could result in loss of control of the airplane. The actions stated in the AD included inspection and incorporation of the stabilizer reinforcements prescribed in Beech Service Bulletin No. 2188, dated May, 1987. The most recent annual inspection of the airplane, dated April 23, 2017, indicated that the AD had been complied with.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age:70, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/05/2015
Occupational Pilot:No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 25000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 300 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:Beech 
Registration: N4654D
Model/Series: 35 G35
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:1956 
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate:Normal 
Serial Number:D-4836 
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/23/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2778 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 27 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3553 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series:E-225-8 
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 225 hp
Operator:On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BVX, 465 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1956 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 170°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.42 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: BEAUFORT, SC (ARW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: BATESVILLE, AR (BVX)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 465 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used:N/A 
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: Unknown
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 35.726111, -91.647500

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