NTSB Identification: SEA98LA113.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 28, 1998 in BIG CREEK, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-18, registration: N44536
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

Just after takeoff from the grass/turf airstrip, the pilot sensed that something was wrong with the way the aircraft was performing. Since he was concerned that the perceived performance irregularity may be related to a 'repair' he had performed using duct tape to strengthen a bent wing rib and to cover torn wing skin, he elected to make an immediate emergency landing. In order to land in the opposite direction from which he took off, the pilot turned right about 70 or 80 degrees, and then entered a steeply banked left turn in order to bring the aircraft back around to the runway. As the aircraft neared the runway, the turn tightened, and the pilot let the aircraft get below minimum power-on stalling speed. The aircraft then stall/mushed into the terrain. According to witnesses, the aircraft never got more than 100 feet above the ground (AGL) during the entire maneuver. The density altitude was later calculated to be approximately 7,800 feet.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering to an emergency landing, resulting in an inadvertent stall/mush into the terrain. A contributing factor was the high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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