According to a local news report, after the accident, the non-certificated pilot stated, “The wind got the better of me and the near-death experience is pretty interesting.”
He further stated, “I tried to level out before the crash into the house and aimed for the tree. I thought we were dead and I pulled the yoke as far as I could to get the elevation leveled out, which saved our life. I hit the tree with the wing and we spun and landed.”
Subsequently, the Radio Flyer came to rest in a residential neighborhood in Tehachapi, California.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.
After multiple requests, the non-certificated pilot failed to submit the National Transportation Safety Board Form 6120.1 Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report.
The automated weather observation system at the airport reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 320° at 17 knots, gusting to 25 knots. The pilot departed on Runway 29.
Probable cause: The non-certificated pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from residential buildings and trees in gusting wind conditions.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA375
This June 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.