NTSB Identification: NYC01LA038.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 17, 2000 in HAGERSTOWN, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 172K, registration: N79054
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During the takeoff roll, the pilot realized the control wheel lock was still connected to the control wheel and he attempted to remove it with both hands. The airplane then rotated on its own, climbed to about 20 feet and 'crashed straight down' onto the runway. The landing gear nose tire burst, the nose landing gear collapsed, and the airplane proceeded off the departure end of the runway. According to the airplane's operating handbook, the second item on the PREFLIGHT INSPECTION checklist is to remove the control wheel lock. Additionally, the third item on the BEFORE TAKEOFF checklist requires that the flight controls are 'free and correct.' The pilot stated that he did not perform a run-up inspection on the airplane.

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

The pilot's failure to remove the gust lock from the control column before takeoff, and his failure to abort the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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