NTSB Identification: MIA97IA050.
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Incident occurred Monday, December 30, 1996 in ORLANDO, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: Douglas DC8-62, registration: N804AX
Injuries: 5 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

As the first officer began the takeoff roll the aircraft began to drift to the left. Attempts to correct the drift by application of full right nose wheel steering through the rudder pedals was unsuccessful. The captain took control of the aircraft and aborted the takeoff. As engine power was reduced the aircraft turned sharply to the right and went off the right side of the runway where it came to rest on soft terrain. The aircraft center of gravity was near the aft limit. After the incident the nose landing gear was found to be over serviced and extended 2.35 inches higher than normal. DFDR data showed that as engine power was added for takeoff the nose of the aircraft pitched up extending the nose gear further. This allowed the centering cam to restrict nose gear steering to +/- 4 degrees. As the captain aborted the takeoff the nose pitched down and normal nose steering returned at which time the aircraft responded to the full right rudder input. DFDR and CVR data also show that as the captain aborted the takeoff he did not fully close throttles 1 and 2 and the asymmetric thrust contributed to the uncontrolled right turn.

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

The failure of the captain to center the rudder and close all engine throttles during an aborted takeoff resulting in an uncontrolled turn to the right due to nose wheel steering through the rudder pedals and asymmetric engine thrust. A factor in the incident was failure of operator maintenance personnel to properly service the nose landing gear strut resulting in an over extended strut and the flight crews loss of directional control to the left during takeoff requiring them to abort the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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