Witnesses reported seeing the private pilot begin the takeoff from the airport in Gasport, N.Y., in the Flight Design CT-SW light-sport airplane. During the rotation, the LSA appeared to pitch up higher than normal, followed by up-and-down pitch oscillations and left bank oscillations. It climbed no higher than about 75 feet.
The LSA began a slow left bank, which was not consistent with a normal takeoff procedure, before hitting trees south of the runway in a left-wing-low attitude.
The pilot told his son before he died that the airplane experienced flight control issues related to the autopilot. [Read more…]