Piaggio Avanti Flies with Missing Elevator

The NTSB reports Avantair completed two flights without the left elevator.

Piaggio Avanti Flies with Missing Elevator
Piaggio Avanti Flies with Missing Elevator

A preliminary report filed by the NTSB indicates that a Piaggio P.180 operated by Avantair flew two legs while missing the left side of its elevator. According to the report, the twin-engine pusher turboprop departed Camarillo, California, on July 28, flew to San Diego to pick up two passengers and then continued to Henderson Executive Airport in Henderson, Nevada, near Las Vegas.

The report also states that the two crew members noticed that the left side of the elevator was missing during a post flight inspection in Henderson. The crew reported a “non-eventful departure and flight“ from San Diego, but the captain noticed that an unusual amount of backpressure was required for the landing in Henderson.

There was no mention of any flight issues during the leg from Camarillo to San Diego. However, the missing control surface was found at the airport in Camarillo three days after the incident occurred. Nobody was hurt, but the report indicates that the airplane was “substantially damaged” when it lost its elevator. The report did not indicate whether that damage went beyond the missing elevator.