The pilot was practising aerobatics when a control restriction was felt. The pilot was just able to recover from a 70 degree dive with minimal elevator control in the nose up sense and initiated a diversion to Southend airport. The pilot made a steep approach but was unable to arrest the rate of descent for landing, which was very heavy, after which the restriction cleared. A mobile phone was found in the rear fuselage which had jammed the elevator control quadrant. A barrier, installed in the rear fuselage as a mandatory airworthiness requirement to prevent such an occurrence, was known to be defective for some time. The telephone had been introduced into the cockpit two weeks earlier when the pilot took a passenger flying. As that flight did not include aerobatics, the pilot had not taken any specific precautions to prevent loose articles from entering the aircraft.
Published 10 December 2014