Student pilot hits tree on takeoff

This July 2010 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. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Keller, Wash. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The purpose of the flight was to spot cattle in the local area. The pilot, 65, held a student pilot certificate but did not have a medical certificate. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued June 15, 2005. He had a total flight time of 125.8 hours, all of which was in the Cessna 150. His most recent logbook entry was for a solo cross-country flight, which was dated Aug. 5, 2004. As a student pilot, the pilot in command was not allowed to carry passengers on board the aircraft.

The passenger stated that prior to taking off, the pilot walked around the airplane, then assisted him in getting in the airplane and fastening his seatbelt. The passenger said the pilot went through the checklist and then taxied to the north end of the airstrip.

During the taxi the pilot commented to the passenger that it was nice, cool and calm, and that they should not have any problem. The passenger said that shortly after takeoff he felt a jolt, followed by turn to the right and the nose going straight down. The airplane hit near the top of an 85-foot-tall tree about 330 feet from the south end of the departure runway before descending and colliding with power lines and then the ground.

Probable cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from obstacles during the initial climb.

For more information: NTSB Identification: WPR10FA326



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