On August 13, 1998, at about 1925 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-44-180, N144JR, registered to Flight Safety International, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight, crashed on takeoff from the Vero Beach Municipal Airport, Vero Beach, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The commercial pilot/CFI and rated student pilot reported no injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The CFI stated the rated student pilot had been making touch-and-go landings to runway 11R. While the airplane was on landing rollout, he took positive control of the airplane to demonstrate another takeoff to the rated student pilot. He advanced the throttle levers for takeoff. The rated student pilot raised the landing gear control lever to the up position without his knowledge. He reached down to retract the flaps when the nose pitched down and the airplane collided with the terrain.

Examination of the landing gear assembly by the Director of Maintenance for Flight Safety International stated, " visual inspection of the gear and recent aircraft records would indicate that the gear was working properly and no precrash mechanical failure was evident."

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