Short runway, powerlines a bad combination

This May 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: English, Ind.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to takeoff from a grass runway measuring 1,200 feet. There were powerlines at the departure end of the runway. The pilot lifted off and was approximately half way down the span when he realized that he did not have enough altitude, airspeed or engine power to climb above the powerlines. The wheels snagged the lines and the airplane pitched down and crashed into a grove of trees.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate preflight planning due to his decision to takeoff downwind, and his subsequent failure to maintain adequate clearance from the power line.

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