The private pilot and a CFI were on an instructional flight in a Cessna 172 near Peoria, Illinois. The airplane was equipped with an electric trim activation switch on the yoke.
According to the private pilot, during the takeoff shortly after rotation, the nose pitched downward and the plane bounced on the runway. The CFI took control of the airplane and attempted to abort the takeoff, but the plane bounced several more times before the nosewheel collapsed and the airplane slid to a stop.
The CFI described the bounces as violent and said he attempted to stop the airplane by reducing the throttle and applying up elevator for aerodynamic braking.
The CFI reported that preflight and pre-takeoff checks were performed, and no airplane deficiencies were noted, and the elevator trim had been set for takeoff.
Although the CFI said that the elevator trim was set for takeoff, the post-accident examination revealed that the elevator trim was in the full nose-down position. Investigators noted that although it could not be definitively determined, it was likely that the pilot inadvertently actuated the electric trim switch on the yoke before takeoff.
The NTSB attributed the accident to the pilot’s inadvertent activation of the electric trim to the nose-down position, which resulted in the airplane being improperly configured for takeoff, and the flight instructor’s incorrect remedial action that allowed the airplane to porpoise.
NTSB Identification: CEN13CA142
This January 2013 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.