Takeoff into trees

This September 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: Globe Swift. Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor. Location: Clyo, Ga. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were departing from a grass runway in a tailwheel-equipped airplane. According to the pilot, the engine lost power after takeoff.

He pulled back on the control yoke in an attempt to avoid hitting trees at the end of the runway, but was not successful.

A video taken of the takeoff roll indicated that the pilot allowed the tailwheel to drop back down and contact the grass for about three seconds before the video ended. The engine sound on the video was consistent with normal engine operation.

There was no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain a proper aircraft pitch attitude during the takeoff roll, which allowed the tailwheel to contact the grass runway and increase drag on the airplane.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: ERA10LA483

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