The pilot reported that during the initial climb, the Bowers Fly Baby aerodynamically stalled.
He was unable to recover the airplane due to the low altitude and the plane hit a field off the departure end of the runway in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, right wing, and right elevator, while the pilot sustained minor injuries.
The pilot verified that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
As a safety recommendation, the pilot reported that using full power on takeoff would have prevented the accident.
The FAA has published the Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-3A (2004), which discusses stalls and states in part: The key to stall awareness is the pilot’s ability to visualize the wing’s angle of attack in any particular circumstance, and thereby be able to estimate his/her margin of safety above stall. This is a learned skill that must be acquired early in flight training and carried through the pilot’s entire flying career. The pilot must understand and appreciate factors such as airspeed, pitch attitude, load factor, relative wind, power setting, and aircraft configuration in order to develop a reasonably accurate mental picture of the wing’s angle of attack at any particular time. It is essential to flight safety that a pilot takes into consideration this visualization of the wing’s angle of attack prior to entering any flight maneuver.
Probable cause: The pilot’s exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack during the initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and a collision with terrain.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA180
This April 2016 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.