On December 10, 1997, at 1619 central standard time, a Beech 1900C, N79GL, operated by Raytheon Aircraft Services, sustained substantial damage due to a loss of control during takeoff. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was departing the Greater Rockford Airport, Rockford, Illinois, on a local maintenance test flight. The commercial pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that the airplane had just been refurbished and it required a maintenance flight check before being released for flight. The pilot reported that he conducted a preflight of the airplane which included systems checks, functional checks, light checks, and a logbook examination. He checked the flight controls for freedom of movement. The pilot reported that, "Once back in the cockpit, I recall looking at the left aileron and I observed aileron movement up and down, however, my mind did not 'catch' the opposite aileron movement per the control yoke deflection. I did 'look' but did not 'see' or notice the incorrect aileron positioning."

The pilot reported that he and three maintenance technicians boarded the airplane for a 45 minute operational flight. The pilot reported utilizing the normal takeoff procedures. Upon rotation, the airplane's left wing began to drop to the left. The pilot reported he instinctively applied right aileron to re-obtain the runway centerline, but with no effect. The airplane struck the left edge of the runway in a left wing low attitude. The pilot reduced the power to idle. The airplane went airborne about 20 feet. When the airplane landed the left wing impacted a taxi sign. The pilot was able to stop the airplane by applying forward stick pressure and utilizing a beta power setting. Once stopped, the airplane was shut down and evacuated.

An examination of the airplane revealed that the aileron cables were incorrectly connected at the turnbuckles in the wheelwell. The airplane maintenance manual contained the following warning:

"Visually check to assure that aileron travel responds properly to the control wheel movement. When the control wheel is turned right, the right aileron should move up and the left aileron should move down."

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