NTSB Identification: LAX97LA016.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 12, 1996 in BIG BEAR CITY, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/1997
Aircraft: Waco QCF, registration: N11481
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that he initiated a takeoff roll in his 1931, open cockpit, wood and fabric airplane. The airplane had accelerated and climbed to about 20 feet above the runway, when the pilot smelled smoke in the cockpit. He abruptly retarded the engine power to terminate the flight. The airplane developed a high sink rate and touched down hard, and the right main landing gear collapsed. The pilot further reported that he subsequently determined that the aroma of 'smoke in the cockpit' was produced by persons burning debris near the airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's improper response to a perceived in-flight emergency by abruptly retarding the throttle and failing to properly flare the airplane during the aborted takeoff. The pilot's improper perception of the source of smoke was a related factor.

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