NTSB Identification: ERA12CA094
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 01, 2011 in Caroleen, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/27/2012
Aircraft: NUSE GEORGE F1H ROCKET, registration: N295JS
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.

The tailwheel-equipped experimental amateur-built airplane was departing from a turf runway at night. The pilot reported that he observed two deer crossing the runway and swerved to avoid them. At that time, a flashlight fell from the top of the instrument panel to the floor of the cockpit. The pilot looked down to retrieve the flashlight and did not realize that the airplane had veered off the runway. He subsequently noticed that the airplane did not feel right, looked up, and observed that the airplane was approaching the tree line. The pilot reduced the engine power to idle and applied brakes; however, the airplane struck trees, which resulted in substantial damage to the left wing. The pilot stated that he did not experience any mechanical malfunctions with the airplane.

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

The pilot did not maintain directional control during takeoff at night due to his distraction with a dropped flashlight, and he delayed his decision to abort the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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