NTSB Identification: ERA10FA232
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 18, 2010 in Zellwood, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/17/2011
Aircraft: MAULE M5-235C, registration: N9196E
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

After an engine runup, the pilot taxied onto the runway and commenced his takeoff roll. The airplane lifted off approximately 1/3 of the length down the runway. After liftoff, one witness thought she heard popping and the airplane immediately turned approximately 40 degrees to the right in the approximate direction of the pilot's destination airport, which one witness stated was the pilot's usual practice. What appeared to be a thin trail of dark gray smoke or black smoke was observed trailing from the airplane. The airplane then reached a height of approximately 60 feet above ground level, leveled off, and the smoke stopped. Upon approaching a tree line that ran perpendicular to the right side of the runway, the airplane was observed to climb. The airplane cleared the trees by approximately 50 feet, stalled, entered a spin, and impacted the ground. A post crash fire then ensued. The airplane had been in a previous accident and it was reported to the NTSB that it may have had a preexisting engine problem.

A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact failure or malfunction of the airplane or engine. During the takeoff, light rain was falling. This may have resulted in the formation of visible vapor during power application which could have appeared to the witnesses as smoke. It is also possible that the smoke may have been residual oil being burned off from a replacement of the oil cooler, which occurred 16 days prior to the accident, recent engine oil servicing, seepage of oil past the seals or rings while the airplane was parked, or a richer than normal mixture due to the atmospheric conditions that existed at the time. The popping that may have been heard could also have been caused by a richer than normal mixture. Had the pilot flown a normal departure which continues straight ahead along the extended runway centerline and continues until reaching a point at least 1/2 mile beyond the departure end of the runway and within 300 feet of the traffic pattern altitude. Following Federal Aviation Administration guidance for departing traffic patterns would have kept the airplane clear of the treeline.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering after takeoff, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall, loss of aircraft control, and collision with trees.

Full narrative available

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