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Summary

Summary

On 25 July 2005, at about 1835 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper Aircraft Corporation PA-31-350 (Chieftain) aircraft, registered VH-PRJ, overran runway 27 at Nhill aerodrome following a rejected night takeoff. The aircraft was being operated on an instrument flight rules charter flight to Charlton, Vic, with the pilot and three passengers on board. The pilot and passengers sustained injuries during the overrun and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

The pilot stated that the take-off roll was from a rolling start with power being slowly applied until engine turbo-charger output stabilised. At about 90 kts indicated air speed, the pilot attempted to rotate the aircraft but encountered resistance to rearward movement of the control column. He decided to reject the takeoff because the aircraft speed at the time was below his nominated decision speed of 100 kts. The pilot reported that he then reduced the engine power to idle and applied maximum braking.

A subsequent inspection of the aircraft revealed that there were no pre-existing defects in the elevator control system and elevator trim system or evidence of interference with the elevator surfaces.

The investigation considered a number of possible factors that could have resulted in the elevator control system difficulties reported by the pilot. Those factors included: mechanical interference in the system, control lock insertion, an excessive nose-down trim setting or nose-down autopilot inputs.

 
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