Pilot Said He Could Not Recall Setting The Flaps To “MID” Position Prior To Takeoff

Location: Sugar Land, Texas Accident Number: WPR23LA205
Date & Time: May 27, 2023, 15:17 Local Registration: N327A
Aircraft: Piaggio Aero Industries SPA P180 Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land Injuries: 8 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

Analysis: The pilot reported that during the takeoff roll, shortly after rotation, he cycled the gear up. The airplane then descended and contacted the runway, which resulted in substantial damage to the lower fuselage. The flap control lever and the flaps were found in the “UP” position following the accident. Review of the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) directed the flaps to be set to MID during the before taxi check and to check flaps MID during the before takeoff check. 

The AFM ALSO stated, in part, “No takeoff authorized without flaps, or with non-symmetrical flap configuration or annunciated flap asymmetry.” The pilot said he could not recall setting the flaps to “MID” position prior to takeoff. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings: The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be — The pilot’s failure to complete required preflight checklist items and properly configure the flaps for takeoff. 

FMI: www.ntsb.gov