The pilot reported that during the takeoff roll, he tried to abort the takeoff because he had not removed the bolt he had placed in the yoke for a gust lock.
He reported that the crosswind pushed the Cessna 172 off the right side of the runway at the airport in Sussex, N.J., into the grass, the airplane hit trees, and sustained substantial damage to both wings and the empennage.
The pilot reported that the accident was due to him not removing the bolt in the yoke.
He added there were no pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to remove the gust lock during the preflight inspection, resulting in a loss of control and collision with trees during takeoff.
NTSB Identification: GAA15CA088
This May 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.