CHI01LA072
CHI01LA072

On January 21, 2001, at 1625 central standard time, a Cessna 172P, N53118, operated by Wisconsin Aviation, Inc., was substantially damaged when it veered off runway18 (2,940 feet by 32 feet, asphalt dry) at Sauk-Prairie Airport, Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin. The solo student pilot was practicing short-field takeoffs when the airplane veered off the runway. The airplane hit a snow bank and nosed over. The student pilot was not injured. The fight originated from Madison, Wisconsin, at 1555. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The student pilot reported that he planned a solo practice of soft-field takeoffs, short-field takeoffs, and normal landings. He reported that it had been over two months since he had practiced those takeoff procedures.

He reported he executed a solo soft-field takeoff, and it was the first time that he had conducted one by himself. He reported that he put in ten degrees of flaps and pulled the yoke back into his chest. He applied full power and tightened the friction lock. He reported that during the takeoff roll the nose shot "... straight up, very fast and very high in front of me. This was totally unexpected to me." He reported the airplane started veering to the left and he applied right rudder, but he did not release the back pressure on the yoke. He reported he realized that he did not have the airplane under control and he pulled the throttle to idle. The airplane impacted a snow bank on the left side of the runway and nosed over. He reported he evacuated the airplane without being injured. He reported he discovered that the airplane had been trimmed nose up.

The student pilot reported that the accident could have been prevented by the following steps:

1. Follow proper procedures for the soft-field takeoff technique. Namely for me, release the back pressure on the yoke as the plane accelerates and moves into ground effect. Hold ailerons level near the ground.

2. Be wary of false confidence in my skills. Know the technique. Practice beforehand with a CFI.

3. Remember the before-takeoff checklist. For me: the trim setting.

4. Know that when the takeoff is going badly, reduce power and nose back down: reject takeoff.

5. Realize that a narrow runway in a vast white field is a tough place to practice this technique.

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