The pilot reported that he was flying the Funk B85C about 700 feet above the ground in cruise flight when he felt the control stick “pop” and the nose of the airplane pitch down.
He pulled back the throttle and turned off the magnetos. The passenger adjusted the elevator trim, however, the pitch attitude did not change.
The pilot then entered a side slip, which brought the nose up to level. He straightened the nose of the airplane just prior to it hitting terrain near Leonard, Oklahoma.
The plane subsequently flipped inverted, resulting in substantial damage to the wings and fuselage, but no injuries to the pilot or passenger.
A post-accident examination revealed the UP elevator turnbuckle became detached at the elevator torque tube. The turnbuckle was not safety wired. New cables were installed in the airplane in 2007 and the turnbuckle most likely loosened over time.
Probable cause: The improper installation of the UP elevator cable turnbuckle, which became disconnected during the flight.
NTSB Identification: CEN15CA166
This March 2015 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.