This March 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 Serious. Location: Wood Lake, Neb. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: According to the passenger, the airplane lifted off from the grass runway and was approximately 50 feet in the air when it turned sharply to the right and dove into the ground.
There were no reported ground witnesses to the accident and the pilot has no memory of the crash. The passenger, who had only flown in a small airplane once before, reported that the liftoff appeared smooth and that he didn’t hear any changes in the engine sound before the crash.
An examination of the airplane failed to identify any pre-impact abnormalities with the engine or airframe.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the initial climb, resulting in an aerodynamic stall.
For more information: NTSB.gov