NTSB Identification: DFW06CA113.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 28, 2006 in De Witt, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/31/2006
Aircraft: Grumman-Schweizer G-164B, registration: N48717
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 5,700-hour commercial pilot was departing on runway 18 (a 3,200-foot long by 60-foot wide asphalt runway) in a tailwheel-equipped agricultural airplane in order to fertilize a rice field approximately three miles to the south of the airport. Prior to his departure from runway 18, the pilot reported that the winds were from the east-southeast at 10 to 20 knots. During the takeoff roll, as the pilot raised the tail of the airplane gust of wind blew the airplane to the right of the runway centerline. The pilot was able to regain directional control and elected to proceed with the takeoff, when another gust "pulled" the aircraft off the ground prematurely. The pilot stated that the airplane "came off of the ground normal but a little higher than he wanted." The pilot added that as he tried to maintain runway heading alignment, the aircraft wanted to "settle," and the aileron control became "real light." The pilot then pointed the airplane into the wind, hoping for a "gust of help" in trying to climb and avoid an impact with trees. The airplane subsequently impacted trees and came to rest in an upright position where a post impact fire ensued. The pilot reported having accumulated a total of 1,200 hours in the same make and model, with about 75 hours in the preceding 90 days.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane during takeoff. A contributing factor was the gusty winds.

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