On December 30, 2001, about 1545 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20C, N6779U, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during a takeoff attempt from Blue Ridge Airport (MTV), Martinsville, Virginia. The certificated private pilot/owner sustained a minor injury. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

During a telephone interview, the pilot stated that he intended to stay in the traffic pattern at Blue Ridge and practice takeoffs and landings. He performed a preflight inspection, and serviced the tires with air. There were no anomalies noted during the inspection.

The pilot further stated that the airplane's engine started immediately, and that he subsequently taxied to the approach end of runway 30 for departure. There were no problems with the ground handling of the airplane, and the brakes and steering functioned properly.

In a written statement, the pilot stated that he rotated the airplane for takeoff at 65 mph, and experienced a "severe" turn to the left. He attempted to correct with full right rudder, but the airplane departed the left side of the runway, onto the grass, and continued to turn to the left. The pilot then attempted to take off to avoid approaching bushes, but subsequently ran into a drainage ditch.

The pilot was asked if the airplane was performing as expected, and he said:

"If anything, I was lifting off a little early because it was a cool day. Everything was normal until I got that yaw left. I added right rudder, but I didn't get a response. Well, maybe a little. If you look at the marks in the grass it looks like the plane might have paralleled the runway a little."

The airplane was examined at the scene by two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors. According to one inspector, parallel skid marks began on runway 30 about 1,000 feet from the approach end. The marks continued into the grass and along the wreckage path to where the airplane came to rest.

The inspector also stated that the propeller, engine, nose gear, and firewall of the airplane were damaged. Control cable continuity could not be established due to impact damage. The pilot's rudder pedals were destroyed, and the copilot's pedals were displaced.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. He reported 735 hours of flight experience, 128 hours of which, were in make and model. His most recent third class medical certificate was issued March 24, 2000.

The airplane had accrued 3,007 aircraft hours. The most recent annual inspection was completed on August 10, 2001, at 2,957 aircraft hours. According to the pilot/owner, no maintenance had been performed on the airplane since that date, and there were no mechanical deficiencies at the time of the accident.

At 1542, the wind at the Blue Ridge Airport was from 010 degrees at 4 knots. There was a broken ceiling at 11,000 feet, with 10 miles visibility.

According to FAA Advisory Circular AC-61-23C, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge:

"The effect of torque increases in direct proportion to engine power, airspeed, and airplane attitude. If the power setting is high, the airspeed slow, and the angle of attack high, the effect of torque is greater. 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."

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