The pilot stated that the preflight and engine run-up of the Cessna 172F were satisfactory prior to the departure from the 1,641-foot grass runway.
The grass was a little high (estimated to be 5 to 6 inches) and soft due to rain from earlier that week.
He consulted the POH and confirmed no flaps for the takeoff.
After the engine run-up he taxied onto Runway 32 at the airport in Mount Pleasant, Pa., and with the flaps retracted, applied full throttle noting 2,200 rpm, then released the brakes.
He did not begin the takeoff roll utilizing soft field takeoff procedure of aft control input but did as the takeoff roll continued.
He later reported that he “probably didn’t initially have the yoke back enough.”
After a little more than half way down the runway at an airspeed less than 50 mph, he aborted the takeoff. Unable to stop, the plane hit a guard rail at the end of the runway, causing it to nose over.
The piloted noted in the Recommendation Section of the submitted NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident report that the accident might have been prevented by better assessment of the conditions/effects of the grass and length of the runway, and to either not initiate takeoff or abort sooner.
He also indicated that the accident might have been prevented if “…a perfect soft/short field technique was used.”
Post-accident inspection of the airplane by an FAA airworthiness inspector revealed substantial damage to the right wing spar and structure adjacent to the left main landing gear attach point.
Another FAA inspector reported no obstructions at the departure end of runway 32.
A review of the airplane Owner’s Manual indicates 0 flap extension is specified for normal and maximum performance takeoff, however, 10° of flaps is specified to be used for minimum ground runs or for takeoff from soft or rough fields with no obstacles ahead. The takeoff performance chart does not indicate distances for grass runways.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s incorrect takeoff procedures from the soft grass runway and his delay in aborting the takeoff after recognizing slow acceleration.
NTSB Identification: ERA14CA278
This May 2014 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.