Jump to Content

The pilot of the Cessna Conquest reported that during the take-off roll, the aircraft started to rotate of its own accord at 70 knots indicated airspeed.

With what he thought to be full forward trim selected and full forward pressure on the control yoke, the aircraft continued to climb. The pitch attitude increased further as the landing gear and flaps were retracted. Approaching 4,000 ft, the pilot reduced power and was able to maintain level flight. After checking the aircraft controllability in the approach and landing configurations, the pilot returned the aircraft to the departure airfield for an uneventful, although overweight, landing.

The subsequent maintenance investigation found the spiral groove in the trim wheel that drove the trim indicator needle had a piece broken out of it. This caused the trim needle to stick in the take-off position. Maintenance personnel reported that the pilot later stated that during the climb he had attempted to trim in order to compensate for the pitch up. While doing so he felt a resistance in the trim wheel and assumed that the trim system had failed. Therefore he stopped trying to operate it. The pin was stuck in the damaged groove section and had increased the force required to move the trim wheel. Had the pilot applied additional pressure to the trim wheel, he would have overcome the restriction and regained trim authority. However, as he was not aware of the cause of the increased resistance in the trim system, he elected not to do so in case this action aggravated the situation.

A major defect report was submitted to CASA.

General details
Date: 20 December 2000 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1200 hours WST  
Location   (show map):Meekatharra, Aero. Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia Occurrence type: Flight control systems 
Release date: 03 April 2001 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 441 
Aircraft registration: VH-NAX 
Serial number: 4410106 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Meekatharra, WA
Departure time:1200 WST
Destination:Perth, WA
Share this page Provide feedback on this investigation
Last update 13 May 2014