The pilot of the experimental amateur-built Minicoupe reported that during the takeoff roll at the airport in Middle River, Maryland, the airplane veered to the left.
As it neared the left edge of the runway, the pilot rotated the airplane in an attempt to become airborne, but the plane aerodynamically stalled three feet above the runway and then hit the runway nose first.
The pilot performed a post-accident inspection of the airplane with the assistance of another pilot, and he discovered that he installed the rudder control horn upside down. The improper installation reversed the rudder control input.
When right rudder input was needed during takeoff to overcome the airplane’s left turning tendency precipitated by the engine and propeller, pushing on the right rudder pedal made the airplane turn left.
The pilot recommended that he verify proper control connections after maintenance.
Probable cause: The pilot’s incorrect installation of the rudder horn and failure to properly inspect the installation, which led to a loss of directional control during takeoff.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA088
This December 2015 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.