On February 14, 1998, about 1105 eastern standard time, a homebuilt Sonerai II LTS, N426AG, was substantially during the initial takeoff climb from the Suffolk Municipal Airport, Suffolk, Virginia. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot stated that this was his first flight in the accident airplane. During the initial takeoff climb from Runway 33, the pilot applied "excessive" right rudder, and the airplane entered a descending right turn. To correct for the turn the pilot applied left aileron. The airplane struck trees off the right side of runway 33, and fell to the ground.

Installed in the airplane, was a non-certified, Great Plains Aircraft conversion, Volkswagen engine. A representative for the engine supplier stated that the propeller, turns in a counter-clockwise direction as viewed from the cockpit of the airplane, and would require the application of left rudder to compensate for turning tendency's.

Review of Federal Aviation Administration (AC 61-23C), Pilot's Handbook Of Aeronautical Knowledge, stated in part:

"...An airplane propeller spinning clockwise, as seen from the rear, produces forces that tend to twist or rotate the airplane in the opposite direction, thus turning the airplane to the left...During takeoffs and climbs, when the effect of torque is most pronounced, the pilot must apply sufficient right rudder pressure to counteract the left-turning tendency and maintain a straight takeoff path."

The pilot reported a total time of 302 hours in the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report. The investigation was unable to document any previous flight time in airplanes where the propeller rotated counter-clockwise as viewed from behind.

The winds reported from an airfield 28 nautical miles to the northeast, at 1052 were, 080 degrees at 11 knots.

The pilot reported that he did not experience any mechanical malfunctions with the airplane.

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