This March 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Cessna 150.
Location: Austin, Ind.
Injuries: 2 Serious.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot did not consult the performance charts in the Pilot’s Operating Handbook prior to takeoff. He attempted to take off from a wet grass runway that measured 1,161 feet. The runway was aligned east-west. The wind at the time of the accident was reported as from 240° at 14 knots with gusts to 17. The pilot elected to take off to the east, which gave the airplane a tailwind. Had he consulted the POH, he would have seen that the amount of runway available was significantly less than the amount of runway required for the takeoff given the present conditions.
The airplane did not have sufficient distance to get the airspeed required to clear a house and trees at the end of the runway. It hit both.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper preflight planning/preparation, and his failure to abort the takeoff. The tailwind and a short runway were contributing factors.
For more information: NTSB.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20070402X00349&key=1