The pilot reported that he had maintenance conducted on the Piper PA-32’s avionics, which included the replacement of the primary flight display (PFD). After the maintenance was completed, he prepared to return to his home airport.
A preflight inspection revealed no anomalies, and the steering system operated normally during taxi.
During the takeoff roll, he observed a red “X” indication over the airspeed indicator on the PFD. He “immediately started an emergency shutdown” of the airplane, during which the airplane began to drift left.
He applied right rudder with no effect. The airplane subsequently departed the left side of the runway in Winona, Miss., continued across a grassy area, and hit the airport perimeter fence, which resulted in substantial damage to the right wing and engine firewall.
Post-accident examination of the nose landing gear steering system, rudder controls, and brake system revealed no anomalies, and no evidence of flight control binding or chafing was found.
Maintenance facility personnel removed the newly replaced PFD before it could be examined, therefore it could not be determined if its installation interfered with the airplane’s flight control system.
According to the Pilot’s Operating Handbook, the emergency procedure for a loss of air data on the PFD was to maintain airspeed and altitude by referring to the standby airspeed and altimeter.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause as a loss of directional control during takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because post-accident examination of the airplane revealed no anomalies.
NTSB Identification: ERA15LA019
This October 2014 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.