Aircraft: Loehle P-40. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Tullahoma, Tenn. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: Shortly after takeoff the airplane rolled into an uncommanded 10° bank to the left. The pilot initially assumed that the bank had been induced by a crosswind, but the bank angle continued to increase as the airplane’s speed increased.
The pilot then leveled the airplane about 75 feet above the ground and applied full right control stick and full right rudder but could not regain control of the airplane.
He decided the best course of action was to land. When he decreased power, the airplane pitched up, stalled and spun to the left and crashed.
No broken flight control cables were found during a post-accident examination, however, due to the extent of impact-related damage to the airplane, operation of the ailerons could not be verified.
When asked how the accident could have been prevented, the pilot stated that he should have aborted the takeoff at the first indication of control issues.
Probable cause: The pilot’s delayed decision to abort the takeoff.
NTSB Identification: ERA12CA013
This October 2011 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.