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The pilot was to conduct solo training flights in a flying wing type ultralight aircraft. Directional control in this type of aircraft is achieved by yaw through the use of wing tip rudders. These rudders are spring loaded to the left and balanced by air loads in flight. During pre-flight assembly on the day of the accident, the control cable attachment to the left rudder was inadvertently positioned on the wrong side of a clamp near the wing tip rib. This allowed the cable, under some conditions to foul on the clamp. After assembling the aircraft the pilot conducted some flights, until a heavy landing bent the main landing gear axle. The pilot used a steel pipe as a hammer to straighten the axle, but the shock loads from this operation dislodged the left hand wing tip rib and rear spar. Although an inspection was conducted, it did not discover the damage to the wing tip which would only have been apparent by removing the wing sail. On the subsequent flight at about 30 feet after take-off, the damaged left wing tip distorted due to aerodynamic loads, initiating an uncontrolled right roll. Attempts by the pilot to level the aircraft resulted in the incorrectly installed control cable attachment inducing further adverse distortion. The aircraft rolled to about 60 degrees, entered a rapid descent and clipped a parked aircraft before coming to rest in a nose down attitude. The engine which appeared to be operating normally was shut down by the pilot after the aircraft came to rest.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 24 December 1989 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1030  
Location:Fairlight Authorised Landing Area, 24 km south-west of Canberra Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Australian Capital Territory Occurrence type: Airframe - Other 
Release date: 17 August 1990 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Pterodactyl Ltd 
Aircraft model: Ptraveller 
Aircraft registration: 10-390 
Serial number: Unknown 
Type of operation: Sports Aviation 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Fairlight ACT
Departure time:1030
Destination:Fairlight ACT
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