This April 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: Taylorcraft BC12-D. Injuries: None. Location: Southbridge, Mass. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: As the pilot raised the tail of his tailwheel-equipped airplane during the takeoff roll, two successive gusts of wind caused the plane to weathervane to the left. The pilot applied full right rudder but the plane did not respond and continued off the side of the runway. The pilot, expecting that he would roll onto the grass, reduced the power to idle. As he rolled onto the grass, a gust of wind lifted the tail higher and the propeller struck the ground and the airplane went over onto its back, sustaining substantial damage to the wings and tail. The reported weather at a nearby airport included winds from 290° at 10 knots, gusting to 17 knots.
Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate compensation for the gusting wind conditions.
For more information: NTSB.gov