The sport pilot was on the ramp ready for departure. He said he was aware of helicopter traffic in the traffic pattern at the airport in Warrenton, Virginia. He turned right onto the runway and saw a helicopter hovering over the runway ahead of him.
He initiated the takeoff roll but then chose to reject the takeoff to avoid a possible collision.
He pushed too hard on the left toe brake and the Tecnam P2008 departed the left side of the runway and nosed down in the grass, resulting in structural damage to the right wing.
The pilot had recently transitioned to the airplane with toe brakes from his previous airplane, which was equipped with a hand brake. He had only logged about seven hours of flight time in the Tecnam.
It is likely his lack of experience using a toe brake led to his failure to use it properly.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to begin the takeoff roll with helicopter traffic on the runway, which led to a rejected takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s improper use of the toe brakes, which he had limited experience using and resulted in a runway excursion.
NTSB Identification: ERA16LA263
This July 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.