NTSB Identification: ERA12CA015
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 07, 2011 in Elizabethton, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18-150, registration: N3491Z
Injuries: 2 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.

After an unremarkable preflight inspection and preflight engine run-up, the pilot, who was a friend of the pilot/part owner in the passenger seat, departed with a short-field technique and entered a steep climb. He then pushed forward on the flight control stick to lower the nose to a straight and level flight attitude; the airplane then began to sink. The pilot pushed the control stick forward to gain airspeed and ensured that the engine was at full power. The left wing dipped, followed by the right wing, which dropped sharply. The pilot applied full left rudder and full left aileron, and the right wing started to recover; however, there was insufficient altitude and the airplane impacted the ground. Witnesses stated that they observed the airplane take off and climb in about a 45-degree nose-high attitude. They further stated that, as the airplane gained altitude, it struggled to gain airspeed as it climbed to about 100 feet above ground level. The wings dipped and wobbled before the airplane struck the ground.

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

The failure of the pilot to maintain airspeed during the initial climb after takeoff, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Full narrative available

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