NTSB Identification: NYC00LA108.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 01, 2000 in GILLESPIE, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/19/2001
Aircraft: Sportavia Putzer RF-5B, registration: N55GS
Injuries: 1 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.

While at an altitude of 2,500 feet, the pilot opted to change the propeller pitch from climb to cruise. While doing so, the pilot noticed a sudden power loss, and the engine shut off. The pilot attempted to restart the engine with no success and performed a forced landing to a farm field. During the landing an outrigger rod broke. The pilot also observed the engine ignition switch in the off position, 'indicating the possibility that I had inadvertently touched it while operating the mechanical lever for the [propeller] pitch change.' The pilot replaced the outrigger rod and attempted a takeoff from the field. After liftoff, the pilot noticed that the motorglider began to drift to the right, and struck a small tree located on the edge of the field. The motorglider veered further to the right, touched down on the ground, struck two embankments lined with fence posts, and came to rest in an adjacent farm field. Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane departed the field on a heading of about 080 degrees. The winds reported by an airport 20 miles to the northwest were from 210 degrees at 10 knots.

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

The pilot's improper weather evaluation, resulting in a tailwind departure.

Full narrative available

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