NTSB Identification: SEA98LA003.
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Accident occurred Friday, October 17, 1997 in GALATA, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Champion 7EC, registration: CFOJT
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 had just purchased the airplane in Canada and was ferrying it back to his home. After departing from an airport, he realized that the airplane was running low on fuel, so he performed a precautionary landing in a field. After fueling the airplane with 9 gallons of automotive gasoline from a nearby gas station, he decided to take off from the stubble field. He initiated the takeoff in a southbound direction approximately 790 feet from a barbed wire fence. After rolling 525 feet, he altered his takeoff direction to the southeast. The airplane became airborne about 130 feet from the fence. It then struck a post on the fence and proceeded to pull a barbed wire strand with it for approximately 50 feet. The strand held fast and yawed the aircraft left. The propeller impacted the ground approximately 70 feet southeast of the fence, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot also reported that the engine was 'fully firing' and that there were no perceived mechanical problems with the airplane during takeoff. He also stated that he should have taxied '...further back to increase margin of takeoff run.'

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

The pilot's failure to adequately perform preflight planning (prior to the precautionary landing and prior to the subsequent takeoff), his selection of an unsuitable takeoff area, and his failure to maintain altitude/clearance from the fence during the takeoff. A factor contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to abort the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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