The pilot was en route to his destination when three to four miles before reaching the runway, he lost elevator authority. He used elevator trim and power settings to control pitch and descended over the runway in Englewood, Colo.
He was able to level off over the runway and tried to get the airspeed to decrease. The Howard DGA 15P descended, hit the runway, and sustained substantial damage to a wing strut.
A post-accident examination by the FAA revealed the elevator control separated at a connection between the control cable and a push/pull tube.
The tube and cable ends remained intact, and showed no signs of deformation or fatigue.
The bolt connecting them was missing and not recovered for examination.
According to methods, techniques, and practices in Advisory Circular 43.13B, the bolt should have been secured with a castellated nut and cotter pin, and neither were recovered from the wreckage.
Probable cause: The separation of the elevator control system linkage at a push/pull tube and cable joint, for an unknown reason, because the bolt and associated hardware securing the joint was not found for examination.
NTSB Identification: GAA15CA294
This September 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.