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NTSB: Cessna 441 Pilot Had Difficulty Controlling The Airplane Prior To Accident

Pilot Reported Multiple Control Issues During Flight

The NTSB has released a preliminary report form a loss of control accident which occurred on February 22, 2018 in Rossville, Indiana. The aircraft, a Cessna 441 Conquest II airplane impacted terrain resulting in the fatal injury of the airline transport rated pilot and two passengers. The airplane was destroyed.

The airplane was registered to and operated by Ponderosa Aviation LLC. The flight originated from the Eagle Creek Airpark (KEYE), Indianapolis, Indiana, about 1920, with an intended destination of the Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport (KGRB), Green Bay, Wisconsin.

According to the report, shortly after takeoff the pilot deviated from the assigned heading and altitude. When questioned by the Indianapolis departure controller, the pilot replied that the airplane was out of control. The pilot then turned the airplane to a heading 90° and explained to the controller that he had a trim problem and difficulty controlling the airplane, but that he had the airplane back to straight and level. The pilot was issued a turn to a heading of 310°, followed by a clearance to climb and maintain 13,000 ft. The pilot was then instructed to contact the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZAU). The pilot checked in with ZAU57 sector stating that he was climbing from 10,600 ft to 13,000 ft. The pilot was cleared to climb to FL200 (20,000 ft) followed by a climb to FL230. The pilot was instructed to change frequencies to ZAU46 sector. The pilot then transmitted that he needed a minute to get control of the airplane and that he was having difficulty with the trim. Communication and radar contact was then lost.

Several witnesses reported hearing the airplane flying overhead. They all described the airplane as being very loud and that the engine sound was steady up until they heard the impact.

The airplane impacted the terrain in a plowed field (upper field) which was soft and muddy. A shallow disruption of the dirt was present which was about 250 ft in length. The impact mark was visible up to the crest of a slight incline where the main pieces of wreckage began. Trees bordered the east end of the field and just beyond the treeline was a tree-covered hill which descended about 50 ft at a slope of about 50°. The trees on the hillside were about 80 to 100 ft tall. At the bottom of the hill was an 8 - 10 ft wide creek. The east bank of the creek was treelined and beyond the trees were to more open fields (lower fields) which were divided by a row of small trees and brush. The wreckage was scattered in the upper field, down the hillside, and into the lower fields. The entire wreckage path was about ¼ mile in length.

Recorded weather conditions present 17 miles west of the accident site were overcast at 1,500 ft with 10 miles visibility. The witnesses reported similar conditions in at the accident site.

(Source: NTSB. Image from file)

FMI: app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20180222X31345&AKey=1&RType=HTML&IType=FA

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