According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to accomplish the first test flight of the experimental, amateur-built Nieuport 17.
During the takeoff roll at the airport in Las Cruces, N.M., the airplane yawed left when the tail lifted.
He reported that the airplane became airborne, but would not accelerate. The airplane remained in ground effect, exited the runway, collided with rising terrain, and subsequently nosed over.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the rudder and the left main and subwings. The pilot sustained minor injuries in the crash.
The METAR at the airport reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 40° at 4 knots. The temperature was 81°F, and the dew point was 27°F. The barometric setting was 30.12 inches of mercury, and the airport elevation was 4,456 ft. The density altitude was 6,742 ft. The pilot used runway 8.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to attain a positive climb rate after takeoff in high-density altitude conditions, which resulted in a collision with terrain.
NTSB Identification: GAA18CA266
This May 2018 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.