NTSB Identification: NYC02FA012.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 18, 2001 in South Hero, VT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/10/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 172, registration: N8255B
Injuries: 3 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot and three passengers were departing runway 18, a 2,000-foot long, 40-foot wide, turf runway. According to a passenger, the airplane lifted off the ground about halfway down the runway, settled back onto the runway, and lifted off again near the end of the runway. The airplane began to climb and everything seemed normal until the airplane climbed above the trees and encountered a sudden wind gust. At that point, the airplane began to sink, the right wing lifted and the nose dropped. The airplane impacted the ground approximately 510 feet south, and 100 feet east of the extended center of the runway and a post crash fire ensued. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any pre-impact malfunctions. Winds reported at an airport about 11 miles west-northwest of the accident site about 30 minutes prior to the accident, were from 280 degrees at 10 knots, with 15 knot gusts, variable from 250 to 310 degrees. An estimated weight and balance calculation revealed the accident flight was conducted at a weight near the airplane maximum gross weight.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during the takeoff. Factors in this accident were wind gusts and the airplane's high gross weight condition.

Full narrative available

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