NTSB: Improper Control Cable Installation Caused Crash Near Bixby

Monday, July 13th 2015, 1:19 pm
By: Richard Clark

The National Transportation Safety Board says improper installation of a control cable likely caused a crash that damaged an antique airplane last spring.

The two men on board the 1946 Funk B85C were not seriously hurt when the airplane crashed near 161st Street South and 153rd East Avenue, south of the Arkansas River and north of Leonard on March 6, 2015.

3/6/2015: Related Story: Pilot, Passenger Not Hurt In Plane Crash Southeast Of Bixby

The pilot, Alex Rabbitt, 19, was flying with a passenger who was a flight instructor.

According to the NTSB's Probable Cause Report on the crash, the men were flying at about 700 feet when Rabbitt felt the stick "pop" and the nose of the airplane pitched down. He pulled back the throttle and turned off the magnetos. The instructor adjusted the elevator trim but it didn't affect the attitude of the plane.

The pilot used a maneuver called a side slip to get the nose level then straightened the airplane just before it impacted the ground and flipped onto its back.

The NTSB says it discovered the "up" elevator turnbuckle was detached from the control mechanism. The investigator said new control cables were installed in the airplane in 2007 but the turnbuckle wasn't safety wired and most likely loosened over time.

Read the Probable Cause Report.

The NTSB says there were no access ports on the airplane to allow someone to check the turnbuckle during an annual inspection.