This August 2008 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.
Aircraft: Evektor Sportstar. Injuries: None. Location: St. Charles, Mo. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The student pilot had logged 40 hours, with approximately 25 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane. He was attempting to take off. The lift off was normal, then about 75 to 100 feet above the runway, the plane pitched down sharply. The student pilot had to pull back on the control stick to maintain control. He continued to have difficulty with pitch control as he maneuvered the plane back to land at the airport. He was unable to simultaneously reduce engine power and maintain control of the airplane. During the landing the airplane touched down hard at a higher-than-normal airspeed with the engine still operating near full power. The student pilot lost directional control of the airplane. The airplane veered to the left off the runway, then nosed over in the grass. The post-accident investigation revealed the pitch trim was in the full nose-down position. The student pilot said he didn’t even think about the elevator trim and it was possible that he had taken off with the elevator trim at the wrong setting.
Probable cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain control due to his task saturation as a result of his failure to set the pitch trim to the neutral position before takeoff.
Probable cause: NTSB.gov