On December 19, 1998, about 1714 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-24-250, N5836P, registered to Cross Winds Aviation, Inc., experienced an in-flight loss of control during takeoff from the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, Clearwater, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the certified flight instructor (CFI), private-rated student, and one passenger were not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the occurrence.

The purpose of the flight was for the student to practice soft field takeoffs because he had failed the soft field takeoff procedure during his commercial checkride 3 days earlier. The CFI stated that the student had the tendency while practicing soft field takeoffs previously to not apply enough right rudder after the nose wheel left the ground resulting in the airplane drifting to the left. The airplane was taxied to the runway and after being cleared for takeoff, power was applied and the student initiated a soft field takeoff procedure. After the nose landing gear came off the runway, the airplane began drifting to the left and the CFI advised the student to apply "a lot more right rudder!" The CFI stated that the student applied "way too much" right rudder and while flying in ground effect, the airplane was flying in a cross control condition with right rudder and left aileron inputs applied. The CFI advised the student to remove the right rudder input and he corrected with left rudder and removed the left aileron input. The CFI reported that while in a cross controlled power-on stalled condition, the left wingtip contacted the runway, followed by the right wing. The airplane then traveled off the runway onto grass and came to rest with the right main landing gear collapsed. The CFI stated that he should have taken corrective action sooner.

Examination of the right main landing gear assembly by an FAA airworthiness inspector revealed that the threaded portion of the rod end for the extension/retract rod was bent and broken.

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