Rudder trim error caused C-47 loss at Mojave

By John Croft

National Test Pilot School officials say pilots of a C-47 Turbo Dakota that crashed after departing the airport at Mojave, California, on 4 February had mistakenly set full right rudder trim on the aircraft during pre-take off actions.

N834TP yawed to the right when the pilots, one instructor pilot from NTPS and one Korean Air Force student pilot, rotated once take off speed was achieved.

The Pratt & Whitney PT6-65AR-powered conversion became airborne but departed the side of the runway, settling back to the ground and hitting a sand berm, officials say.

The crash ripped the left gear and left engine from the 62-year-old aircraft, buckled the fuselage and destroyed the nose-mounted forward-looking infra red system turret and belly mounted air-to-ground marine patrol radar, equipment which is normally used to train pilots as well as flight test engineers at four stations in the cabin.

At the time of the accident, the Korean pilot was flying left seat as part of a familiarization ride linked to his flight training, and no engineers were onboard. Both pilots received only minor injuries, says Ed Solski, a test pilot instructor at the school and head of the internal investigation of the accident. Solski says the aircraft appears to be damaged beyond repair.

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