NTSB Identification: MIA96FA130.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 26, 1996 in GAFFNEY, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/10/1996
Aircraft: Helio H-295, registration: N700HC
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During takeoff, the aircraft veered to the right and went off of the airstrip about 300 feet from the departure end, then it continued on a course parallel to the airstrip. The aircraft was reported to be in a tail-high, nose-low attitude, and the propeller was striking the ground. The aircraft was estimated to be traveling at about 89 knots at that time. Subsequently, the aircraft collided with a berm and became airborne, then it collided with trees and crashed into a ditch at the end of the airstrip. A postcrash fire erupted and further damaged the aircraft. Postcrash examination of the aircraft structure and engine did not show evidence of a precrash failure or malfunction; except during a check of the flight controls, the remains of a drywall screw were found in the control lock hole on the control column. This screw was locking the controls in an aircraft nose-down attitude. Members of the pilot's family and the mechanic, who maintained the aircraft, identified the drywall screw as the device used by the pilot to lock the controls on the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

failure of the pilot to remove the control lock during the preflight, and his failure to check the flight controls before taking off.

Full narrative available

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