According to the pilot, during the takeoff roll, a vehicle entered the runway at the airport in The Dalles, Oregon, and he immediately pulled back on the yoke in his Aero Commander 500B to climb and avoid the vehicle.
As the airplane began to rotate, he simultaneously retracted the landing gear, and he felt a “bump” before the airplane lifted off of the runway.
The airplane ascended over the vehicle and the pilot avoided a collision.
He reported that during the post-flight inspection, he checked the landing gear to inspect for damage and he did not find any deficiencies.
However, during a subsequent preflight inspection by another crew, it was noticed that the lower aft fuselage was damaged. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the bottom aft fuselage longerons and stringers.
Probable cause: A motor vehicle’s runway incursion, causing the premature rotation of the departing airplane, which resulted in a tail strike.
NTSB Identification: GAA15CA262
This August 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.