On June 6, 2002, about 1205 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N748SP, veered off the runway during takeoff from runway 28 left at Monterey, California. Del Monte Aviation was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal cross-country flight was en route to Columbia, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed.

While in the run-up area the pilot went through her checklist, and received an altitude alert message and a horn went off. She said she pushed every button she could to turn the alert off, but was unsuccessful. She taxied back to the hangar where her flight instructor popped the circuit breaker for the autopilot, which was giving the alert message. Once it was turned off, she taxied out to takeoff.

The pilot began the takeoff roll and attempted to rotate, but the control yoke was not effective. The pilot slammed on the brakes, but the airplane departed the right side of the runway. The nose gear collapsed aft and damaged the firewall and fuselage.

The pilot's flight instructor noted that the airplane had full nose down trim after the accident. The pilot said she did not know that she had to manually recycle the trim after pulling the circuit breaker.

Section four of Supplement 15 to the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) described normal procedures for the use of the autopilot. Paragraph A.2 contained a warning that the manual electric trim and autopilot were inoperative if the circuit breaker was pulled. Paragraph eight instructed the pilot to manually set the trim to the takeoff position.

Section four of the POH described normal procedures. The before takeoff checklist instructed the pilot to insure that the elevator trim was set for takeoff.

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