The pilot was performing a post-maintenance test flight after a “lengthy restoration” of the Piper PA22 had been completed by a mechanic, who accompanied him on the flight.
After takeoff from the airport in Cortland, N.Y., the airplane did not respond in accordance with the pilot’s control inputs, so he elected to immediately land the airplane.
The plane hit the ground off the departure end of the runway, which resulted in substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.
Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the aileron control cables had been rigged opposite of the proper orientation prescribed in the airplane’s illustrated parts catalog.
Both the pilot and the mechanic stated that when they conducted flight control checks prior to the flight, they confirmed deflection of the ailerons, but that they each failed to confirm that the aileron deflection corresponded correctly to the input at the control yoke.
Probable Cause: The mechanic’s incorrect rigging of the aileron control cables, which resulted in a reversal of aileron control inputs applied by the pilot during the takeoff. Also causal was the mechanic’s inadequate post-maintenance inspection and the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection and before takeoff check, which failed to detect the misrigging.
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This July 2020 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.