NTSB Identification: CHI04CA160.
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Accident occurred Sunday, June 20, 2004 in Carmi, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Champion 7FC, registration: N7690E
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was substantially damaged during an in-flight collision with terrain shortly after takeoff from runway 36. The pilot reported completing three touch and goes "in a normal manner." He stated that on the fourth landing, after the tail wheel had touched down, he applied full engine power for takeoff. The airplane "suddenly swerved to the right and went into the grass east of the runway." The pilot elected to takeoff on a northeasterly heading from the grass area and the taxiway. During the attempted takeoff, the aircraft encountered a harvested wheat field adjacent to the airport. The aircraft became airborne in a right wing low attitude, causing the aircraft to turn toward the south. The pilot reported that the engine power "seemed to fade" and he landed on a southerly heading in a five-foot deep ditch adjacent to the wheat field. The right wing impacted the ground, twisting the fuselage and collapsing the landing gear. The pilot stated that he may have applied the right heel brake during the landing roll resulting in a loss of directional control. He also noted that the wheat field stubble was "high and made the attempted take off very difficult." He also noted that carburetor icing may have been responsible for the "apparent lack of full power response." The temperature and dew point recorded by the CUL Automated Weather Observing System at 1645 were 25 and 7 degrees Celsius, respectively. Carburetor icing data obtained from Transport Canada indicates a possibility of carburetor icing at descent power under those conditions.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the takeoff roll, his decision to continue the takeoff when the aircraft had left the runway surface, and his selection of unsuitable terrain for the continued takeoff. An additional cause was the pilot's failure to maintain clearance to the terrain during the initial climb. Contributing factors were the wheat field "stubble" (high vegetation) and the ditch.

Full narrative available

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