September 7, 2008, Atlanta, Ga., Piper J5A Cruiser


The airplane incurred substantial damage at 1600 Eastern time when it impacted terrain during a banner-tow operation. The commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot took off and executed the banner pick-up maneuver but missed. During the second attempt the pilot “heard and felt a pop from the elevator cable.” The airplane leveled off and he reduced engine power. With the flight control stick fully aft, he observed the elevator was in the neutral position. He reached behind his seat and pulled lightly on the elevator control cable. The airplane transitioned into a slight nose-down attitude. He pulled on the other elevator cable and did not feel any resistance or any change in pitch attitude. The pilot continued an uncontrolled slight descent into a rough field where the airplane impacted with the ground. The pilot was able to exit the airplane unharmed.


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