Swedish investigators have found that the crew of a Saab 2000 forgot to activate its nose-wheel steering before the aircraft suffered a runway excursion at Linkoping earlier this year.

The aircraft (SE-LRA) was being operated by manufacturer Saab itself, as a personnel shuttle, and departing from runway 11 at Linkoping airport on 9 May.

Swedish investigation authority SHK says the turboprop crew taxied to the runway using the nose-wheel steering tiller, without any problems.

After lining up the pilots carried out a propeller overspeed test, part of the checklist, and then commenced the take-off run.

But the aircraft quickly yawed to the left, with the left-hand main landing-gear exiting the runway surface, before it returned to the runway. The take-off was aborted at 70-80kt and the Saab came to a halt.

“It is clear from the captain’s interview that for some reason they omitted to depress the tiller and activate the nose-wheel steering,” says SHK.

“The take-off was initiated directly from partial power, which resulted in an abrupt course change and provided for only a very limited time to recover before the aircraft left the runway.”

It adds that the nose-wheel was probably not parallel with the runway when the brakes were released.

SHK points out that the pilot alternated between flying the Saab 2000 and the Bombardier Global Express, aircraft types in which the nose-wheel tiller is used in different ways.

None of the 14 occupants was injured but the excursion resulted in damage to a runway edge light to the north of runway 11.