According to the pilot, he departed on a cross-country flight to his home airport in Westfield Township, Ohio. He planned to arrive about sunset and land to the west.
His last recollection of events leading up to the accident was initiating a right turn from the base to final leg in the traffic pattern.
The CubCrafters CC18-180 wreckage was found inverted on the runway, adjacent to a tree line near the approach end. The pilot was seriously injured in the crash.
A semicircular, concave indentation on the leading edge of the right wing exhibited wood and paint transfer marks consistent with marks found on a severed treetop and branches at the initial point of impact.
It is likely that the pilot misjudged the airplane’s height above the trees when he turned onto final and was flying toward the setting sun.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from trees during a base-to-final turn while landing toward the sun.
NTSB Identification: GAA15LA027
This March 2015 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.