10th of December 2011
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
A Hawker Beechcraft 1900 D (Registered C-GLHO, s/n UE-266) was accelerating down Runway 21 at Gander Airport, Canada when the crew noticed that the control column was stuck in the maximum forward position. The take of was rejected and the aircraft was taxied back to the ramp.
The incident aircraft in December 2017
on the 8th of December 2011, the aircraft was towed out of the company hangar and parked on the ramp adjacent to the hangar. The aircraft was left on the ramp, facing East. During the time the aircraft was parked there, winds from the West at speeds of 30 knots (gusting to above 50 knots). Towards the end of the night on the 10 of December, the aircraft was towed back into the hangar for a scheduled maintenance check, a daily inspection. After completion of the inspection, the aircraft was towed out of the hangar and parked on the ramp, released for flight by maintenance. The weather was calm at the time with hardly any wind. During the cause of the morning, the First Officer of the incident flight performed a preflight inspection of the aircraft. Subsequently, the crew performed an engine runup. After the runup, the aircraft was taxied to the airport terminal. At the terminal, the passengers board the aircraft, and the crew complete the preflight checks. With the passengers on board and the doors closed the engines were started. The crew performed the After Start Checklist. They verbally confirmed that the flight controls were checked.
After receiving taxi clearance, the crew taxied to the runway and completed the necessary checklists. The take-off was started, all standard calls were made and at a speed of 112 knots, the "Rotate" call was made by the pilot monitoring, the pilot flying could not pull the control column back, it was jammed in the full forward position! The take-off was aborted at a speed of 119, the runway was long enough, more than 7000 feet remained. The aircraft was safely slowed down and the crew started to taxi back to the terminal where the passengers were disembarked. After the passengers were back in the terminal the crew taxied the aircraft to the hangar for maintenance to investigate the jammed control column. During this taxi trip back to the hangar the crew managed, with considerable force, to free the control column. However movement was now restricted, and full nose down could no longer be achieved. The maintenance department investigated the issue and found that part of the elevator control system had gone over-centre and found some damage on other components of the elevator control system
Elevator control normal configuration (left) and the over-centre, abnormal configuration. (right) (Source and © https://www.tsb.gc.ca/)
The Hawker Beechcraft 1900 Maintenance Manual states that; control locks be installed for flight-ready storage, as well as for mooring in high winds.
To make sure the flight controls have full free movement prior to take-off the procedure was such that flaps, elevators and rudders should be activated through their complete travel to ensure they are not restricted for any reason. Any cause for restriction should be removed prior to take-off. The investigation to the incident was concluded with the following (summarised) findings;
The aircraft was parked for a prolonged time in high wind conditions without following the right (Maintenance) Procedure. This resulted in damage to the elevator controls.
The design of the elevator system allowed this damage to occur
No elevator control check was carried out during the maintenance check (as required)
No elevator control check was carried out a required by the after-start checks
Several corrective actions were instigated by the airline, the OEM and an Emergency AD was issued by the FAA.
The full report on this incident can be found by clicking here
The Beech 1900 Elevator control system (from personnel collection)