The pilot and passenger were departing on a personal, cross-country flight from a grass runway in Rockville, Indiana.
A witness saw the Cessna 150 lift off from the 2,081′ runway near midfield with a high pitch attitude, but he did not see the subsequent climbout or accident.
The airplane hit tall trees about 1,100′ past the departure end of the runway. Both souls aboard died in the crash.
Given the witness’s statement, the pilot likely did not lower the airplane’s nose to accelerate while in ground effect, as recommended by the FAA for a soft-field takeoff.
Instead, he likely attempted to climb the airplane at too high of a pitch angle and too low of an airspeed during the soft-field takeoff.
Further, the plane was near or above its maximum gross takeoff weight.
The combination of these factors led to the airplane climbing out at an insufficient airspeed and its subsequent inability to adequately climb out of ground effect and clear the trees off the departure end of the runway.
In addition, a light tailwind likely existed during the climb, which the pilot may not have noticed due to trees surrounding the runway and windsock.
Probable cause: The pilot’s use of an improper soft-field takeoff procedure, which resulted in the airplane having insufficient airspeed to climb out of ground effect and its subsequent impact with trees near the departure end of the runway.
NTSB Identification: CEN16FA216
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.