NTSB Identification: LAX00LA344.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 21, 2000 in CORCORAN, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/15/2002
Aircraft: Schweizer G-164B, registration: N3626T
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane veered into a cotton field during takeoff from a dirt canal bank. During refueling, Jet A fuel was spilled on the windshield. The pilot cleaned the windshield and attempted a takeoff. Residual fuel started collecting on the windshield and he aborted the takeoff. He cleaned the windshield more thoroughly and attempted a second takeoff. As the airplane reached flying speed, fluid once again collected on the windshield and obscured his vision. He was departing to the east into the rising sun and lost his forward visual reference. He said there was not sufficient runway remaining to reject the takeoff, therefore he continued. The airplane gained less than 5 feet of altitude and drifted about 20 degrees left. The airplane collided with cotton plants about 2 feet tall, and continued about 300 feet through the field before coming to rest. The right main gear and spray boom separated, and the upper wing partially separated.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection and his failure to maintain directional control during takeoff. Factors were the pilot's failure to ensure that the fuel tank cover was replaced properly, fuel contamination of the windscreen, and the sun angle that obscured the pilot's vision.

Full narrative available

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