NTSB Identification: ERA09CA010
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 03, 2008 in Naples, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/2009
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N20921
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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.

After removing the floats from the Cessna 172M, the pilot taxied from the north end of the grass runway to the south end, to conduct a brake test confirming the brakes were operational. He then back-taxied the airplane to the north end of the approximate 1,200-foot-long, 75-foot-wide runway. During the taxi, the pilot noticed the grass runway was wet and rougher than expected and conducted a high-speed taxi test prior to takeoff to determine handling capability. The pilot conducted a short-field takeoff and the airplane accelerated normally. As the airplane crossed over a high spot, created by a culvert under the runway, the airplane began sliding on the grass towards the left side of the runway. The pilot applied more right aileron, then rudder, and then some right brake. At this point, the pilot decided to abort the takeoff. He brought the throttle to idle, applied the brakes, and shut off the magnetos. As the airplane slowed, the left wing contacted a tree, which pivoted the nose of the airplane into brush as it came to a stop approximately 600 feet beyond the north end of the runway. The left wing sustained substantial damage upon impact with the tree.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control of the airplane during takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the wet condition of the grass runway.

Full narrative available

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