This September 2008 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 152. Injuries: 2 Serious. Location: Carlsbad, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: On a flight earlier in the day the pilot reported having problems starting the engine, as well as encountering excessive engine roughness while performing the magneto check. Prior to the accident flight, he again encountered engine roughness during the magneto check, which he resolved by running the engine for five minutes at a lean mixture and increased engine rpm.
After lift off the plane was about 400 feet above terrain when the engine lost power. Attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful. The pilot began maneuvering the airplane away from power transmission lines. A witness observed the plane flying slowly and emanating an “underpowered” sound. It then began a descending right turn, and collided with rising terrain. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage structure.
Probable cause: The loss of engine power during takeoff for undetermined reasons.
For more information: NTSB.gov