One fine day in mid 2019 I find myself with the honourable offering of being a newly minted PPL’s and friends right seat for their first flight with their new shiny license. Now it was an aircraft I’d never flown in before and although familiar with the type, there were some noticeable differences from the norm, no toe brakes, trim lever in an odd place etc. After a routine preflight and brief we departed and enjoyed an event free take off and climb out. Some 15 minutes after take-off I took the controls whilst the pilot made a couple of adjustments to seat, harness etc. Now I made a smallish turn and put in some right rudder where I noticed it was very heavy. At the time I just chalked it down to an aircraft I didn’t know. I handed back the controls and enjoyed the view for once. Again a trouble free circuit join and finals led to the touchdown at which point the aircraft violently ground looped to the left. We evacuated the A/C and awaited recovery. After checks we restarted and taxied back to parking. The CFI of the school made an immediate inspection and recovered a go pro mount in the rudder controls. We talked through the A check and determined that the location and colour of the GoPro mount made it almost impossible to see as it was somehow high up above the pedals.
So what did we learn? Check, and recheck, with a torch if needed, and really look. Secondly, question if something does not feel right, there was an indication that something was wrong but low hours and lack of experience promoted a nugatory perception of the blaring problem.
I have to report the PIC did has not as yet returned to flying which is a shame as his flying was immaculate.
Written by a private pilot