On December 11, 2010, at 1241 Pacific standard time, a Mooney M20J, N4326H, collided with the runway surface during takeoff at Chino Airport, Chino, California. The student pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The student pilot sustained serious injuries, and the certified flight instructor (CFI) was not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage secondary to impact forces and a post crash fire. The instructional flight departed John Wayne-Orange County Airport, Santa Ana, California, about 1200. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The CFI stated that they had just completed two simulated short-field takeoffs and decided to perform a simulated soft-field takeoff. The student pilot was at the controls during the takeoff roll, and as the airplane rotated, the nose lifted at an angle that the CFI determined was excessive. He verbally coached the student to lower the nose, but the nose did not lower. He again requested that the student lower the nose, but he did not respond. The airplane then began to drift to the left, so the CFI took the controls, and attempted to lower the nose. Before the angle of attack was corrected, the right wing dropped. The CFI responded with rudder input, which was followed by an opposite wing drop. The airplane then landed hard, and skidded off the runway on its belly; the CFI reported that fire simultaneously erupted as the airplane slid to a stop.

The airplane came to rest on a taxiway, adjacent to the departure runway. The left main landing gear was located next to a manhole cover on the grass intermediate verge. The soil appeared freshly disrupted in the area of the cover, and a scrape and burn mark continued across the taxiway surface to the airplaneā€™s location.

The airplane was consumed by post accident fire, with only the outboard wing sections and tail remaining. Examination of the wreckage by the NTSB investigator-in-charge revealed that the steel flight controls were continuous from each control surface through to their respective cabin flight controls. The jack screw actuator extension dimensions for the elevator trim, landing gear, and flaps were compared to Mooney reference documentation. The positions revealed that the airplane was configured with the landing gear down, and flaps fully extended (33 degrees), with the elevator set to the takeoff trim position.

According to the Mooney Pilot's Operating Handbook, applicable to the airplane serial number and type, prior to takeoff, the wing flaps should be set for the takeoff configuration of 15 degrees.

The CFI reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. All sections of the airplane were located at the accident site.

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