While in flight, the Champion 7GCB’s rudder cable separated. The pilot was able to return to the airport in Pearsall, Texas, and align the airplane to land.
During the landing flare, the plane began to drift and the pilot was not able to correct the drift. He initiated a go-around, however the airplane then entered an aerodynamic stall and subsequently hit the ground.
Examination of the rudder cable separation area found localized melting, darkening, and oxidation consistent with electrical arcing. The elongation and oxidation of the overstressed wires was consistent with separation at high temperature.
According to the pilot, the passenger had gotten his foot caught in the rudder cable. The pilot believed that the rudder cable came in contact with the battery at that time; the battery box did not have a cover, and the positive terminal of the battery was unguarded. The contact would have resulted in the electrical arcing and the subsequent cable separation.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the failure of the rudder cable due to electrical arcing damage from contact with an unguarded battery and the pilot’s subsequent loss of control during the go-around.
NTSB Identification: CEN13LA518
This August 2013 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.