The private pilot reported that, while making a right turn during a personal flight, the flight controls “stuck.” She was unable to make aileron or elevator control inputs, and was also unable to correct the airplane’s bank using rudder inputs.
The Piper PA-18 subsequently descended in a right turn until it hit the ground near Sterling, Alaska. The pilot was seriously injured in the crash.
The airplane was removed from the accident site before it could be examined.
During recovery, both wings and their control cables were cut.
The airplane was later examined on the pilot’s property, strapped to a trailer. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any control anomalies that would have precluded normal operation; however, since the flight control system was compromised during the recovery, the pre-accident condition of the flight controls could not be determined and the investigation was unable to establish a reason for the pilot’s reported loss of control.
Probable cause: The pilot’s loss of control while maneuvering for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information.
NTSB Identification: ANC17LA016
This February 2017 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.