LAX99LA210
LAX99LA210

On June 7, 1999, about 1015 hours Pacific daylight time, a Bellanca BL-14-13, N74476, crashed shortly after takeoff from Taft-Kern County Airport, Taft, California, following a loss of control. The aircraft, owned and operated by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91, was destroyed. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the postmaintenance test flight.

In a written statement, the pilot said that he was doing a postmaintenance flight, which involved just staying in the traffic pattern. He stated that during the preflight inspection, he only checked the controls for movement and did not verify aileron movement in the correct direction for the cockpit aileron input. He went on to state that upon rotation at 50 miles per hour, he climbed to 30 feet. The aircraft rolled to the left, the pilot responded with right aileron, which just aggravated the left roll. He stated the aircraft's left wing contacted the runway surface and the aircraft proceeded to cartwheel, coming to a rest on the belly. He stated that the aircraft was in the air for no more than 3 seconds. The pilot went on to state that a small fire occurred at the base of the firewall, but was extinguished by the use of a handheld extinguisher.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector from the Fresno Flight Standards District Office interviewed the pilot and examined the wreckage. The pilot stated that he had just finished major repairs and restoration under supervision of an airframe and powerplant mechanic, and this was the first flight after the repairs. The pilot told the FAA inspector that he did not reference a manual during the repairs. Upon completion of the repairs and signoff by the mechanic, the pilot stated that he then made further repairs to the aileron control system without the mechanic's knowledge or ultimate signoff. The FAA inspector found the aileron controls to be crossed and reversed.

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