This February 2009 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: Piper Super Cub. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Tallahassee, Fla. Aircraft damage: Minor.
What reportedly happened: The pilot, who held an ATP certificate, had previously performed a stunt where a jeep and motorcycle would drive down the grass runway, and he would perform a low pass over them. On the day of the accident there was no briefing between the pilot and the drivers of the jeep or motorcycle about the maneuver before it was attempted.
The motorcycle departed first, followed by the jeep with two occupants, and finally the airplane. The pilot stated that he was flying at 75 mph and the jeep was driving at 35 to 40 mph. The pilot attempted to pass the right side of the jeep, but felt the airplane hit it. He noticed the navigation light on the left wing was hanging down. He performed a 180° turn and landed on the runway. Meanwhile, the jeep veered off the runway and hit trees, killing both occupants. Toxicology testing determined that the pilot had used marijuana within the previous days or weeks but it could not be determined that the use contributed to the accident.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to initiate takeoff in close proximity to other vehicles, which were operating on the runway, resulting in collision with a vehicle during takeoff.
For more information: NTSB.gov