NTSB Identification: LAX99LA062.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 30, 1998 in FURNACE CREEK, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2000
Aircraft: Beech C23, registration: N2313L
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

The private pilot/ owner and his daughter had arrived at Furnace Creek after departing Lancaster earlier that morning. They toured Death Valley National Park for several hours and were preparing to return home. The pilot conducted his preflight check in the tie down area. After back taxiing on the runway and aligning the aircraft for takeoff, he became concerned that he would not be able to see approaching aircraft while he conducted his takeoff checklist. He decided to maintain his position but would expedite without using the written checklist from the glove compartment. He performed his run-up and completed the checks from memory. He announced his departure on Unicom, added full power, and began the takeoff roll. He estimated rotation speed (65 mph) was reached approximately 2/3 of the way down the runway. As he started to pull on the control yoke, he realized the gust lock pin was still in the locked position. He felt that he could not abort the takeoff at this point without departing the end of the runway at a high rate of speed. He attempted to remove the gust lock, which required him to depress a button on the bottom of the pin while pulling down on the shaft. As he was struggling with the pin, the aircraft overran the runway. The nose gear dug into the dirt and was sheared off. He estimated the aircraft came to rest 30-50 yards past the end of the runway. As he secured the cockpit the pilot noticed the key was sheared off, the throttle was pulled out and the shaft was bent down. He also noted that the control lock was on the floor with a broken piece of its neoprene housing. The pilot exited the aircraft behind his daughter.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection when he failed to remove the gust lock from the flight controls.

Full narrative available

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