This July 2010 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 J3C-65. Injuries: None. Location: Warrenton, Va. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot, who had logged about 200 hours, including 125 in J-3 Cubs, was attempting to take off from a 2,000-foot turf runway.
He anticipated poor performance because it was hot and humid, the airplane was full of fuel, and he had a passenger.
About halfway down the runway, at an altitude of 80 to 100 feet above ground level, he realized the airplane was not climbing particularly well. Concerned it would not clear a line of trees at the end of the runway, he elected abort the takeoff.
To avoid the trees at the end of the runway, he veered to the right, intending to land in a field adjacent to the runway. The airplane came down hard and the left wing was damaged.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper flare during a precautionary landing, which resulted in a hard landing.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: ERA10CA355
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