The pilot, accompanied by a flight instructor, was conducting mountainous backcountry familiarization training.
The flight instructor reported they taxied about 1,000′ down the runway because the field was wet. During takeoff at a high altitude (6,370′ elevation) backcountry airstrip in Stanley, Idaho, the airplane became airborne near the end of the runway.
During the initial climb, the flight instructor reported the pilot pulled back on the yoke abruptly, which caused the nose of the Cessna 182 to pitch up and obstruct their forward view.
The flight instructor further reported that he told the pilot to lower the nose of the airplane to build up airspeed and allow for a visual reference. As the pilot lowered the nose, the left wing of the airplane hit a tree.
The flight instructor reported that he and the pilot assessed the damage and controllability of the airplane, and decided to continue their flight since they did not want to do any more maneuvering than was necessary and they were already headed towards their destination airport.
During cruise flight, the flight instructor noticed some “pulling” to the left and some visual damage to the left wing. They landed at their destination airport uneventfully.
A post-accident examination revealed substantial damage to the left wing and aileron.
A post-accident mechanical inspection by the pilot’s mechanic revealed a 20/80 compression on the No. 3 cylinder. A representative from the engine manufacturer stated that there would have been negligible power loss due to the low compression and that the post-accident compression test would be invalid because the test was conducted on a cold engine.
Included in the public docket for this report is a copy of the service bulletin from Continental on the procedures for conducting a differential pressure test and borescope inspection procedures for cylinders.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to attain an adequate climb gradient, which resulted in a collision with a tree and subsequent substantial damage to the left wing and aileron.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA298
This June 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.