Takeoff with tailwind leads to loss of control

Aircraft: Cessna 150. Injuries: None. Location: Ketchikan, Alaska. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane told investigators that he took off from runway 29 with a slight left quartering tailwind.

As the airplane accelerated, it veered to the left although he was applying full right rudder. The airplane then veered right, and the left main gear collapsed. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

The pilot said that the accident might have been avoided if he had used a different runway.

Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to take off with a quartering tailwind, which resulted in a loss of control.

NTSB Identification: ANC12CA045

This June 2012 accident report is are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.


  1. Sleepy says

    Was not there, did not do the investigation but doesn’t read as though anyone else did either. Very little info in the full narrative. NTSB “determined” a slight quartering tailwind was the cause ? Just because when the pilot was asked about wx conditions at the time he told them that there was a slight quartering tail wind? Now granted the pilot may have been able to abort the takeoff in a timely manner and avoided the accident but since he didn’t aren’t there other possibilities? Techniques, brakes, rudder cables, tires, etc.?

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