Aircraft: Piper Super Cub. Injuries: None. Location: Gakona, Alaska. Aircraft damage: None.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to take off from a remote, 800-foot-long, gravel-covered airstrip. The winds were variable. During the takeoff roll, just before liftoff, a gust of wind pushed the airplane to the right.
As the airplane became airborne, the pilot felt a “bump,” but he noted no control or vibration problems. After an uneventful landing at his destination airport, an examination revealed substantial damage to the lower portion of the airplane’s rudder.
Further examination revealed that the tailwheel likely hit something during takeoff.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to take off in variable wind conditions, which resulted in a loss of control and the airplane striking an object after takeoff.
NTSB Identification: ANC12CA037
This May 2012 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.