NTSB Identification: NYC99LA221.
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Accident occurred Monday, September 06, 1999 in WESTMORE, VT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2000
Aircraft: Valenza VOLKSPLANE VP-II, registration: N8535B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 recently bought the homebuilt airplane, which hadn't been flown in the previous 3 years, and he reassembled it at his airstrip. He conducted an engine ground test, and subsequently decided to change the original propeller to one with a smaller diameter in order to prevent ground strike damage. The pilot then decided to fly the airplane to another airport, where additional repairs could be made. It was his first flight in the accident airplane, and according to a witness, the takeoff was conducted under 'fairly calm' wind conditions. The airplane began its takeoff roll about 250 feet from the approach end of the grass airstrip, on a downwards slope. It lifted off after rolling about 1,000 feet, but did not gain enough altitude to avoid 50-foot trees at the far end. It turned toward the left, but then descended into two pine trees which were in a gully, and below the elevation of the airstrip. The airplane sheared off the treetops, then rolled inverted, and struck the ground. The engine was heard operating strongly throughout the takeoff attempt, and the wooden propeller blades were shattered. The pilot had about 300 hours of flight time.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude/clearance from the trees. A related factor was the pilot's lack of familiarity with the airplane.

Full narrative available

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