The pilot of the experimental, amateur-built airplane reported that he attempted to take off on a grass portion of his property in Windsor Township, Pennsylvania, that extended about 1,000′ before reaching power lines.
During takeoff on an approximate 130° heading, he noticed the Zenair STOL CH-701 was not climbing fast enough to clear the power lines. He pulled up “hard” to clear the power lines, but stalled the airplane.
The left wing dipped down, and the airplane hit the ground. The right wing separated from the fuselage, and the empennage was crushed behind the wings. Both main landing gear separated from the fuselage, and the nose landing gear folded back under the engine compartment.
The pilot, who sustained minor injuries in the crash, reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
He added that he thought the wind was swirling and that the airplane may have encountered some wind shear. The recorded wind at an airport about 13 miles west of the accident site, about the time of the accident, was from 320° at 4 knots.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper pretakeoff planning, his failure to maintain adequate airspeed, and his exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack during a short-field takeoff with a tailwind, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.
NTSB Identification: ERA17CA152
This April 2017 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.