NTSB Identification: ERA12LA264
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 01, 2012 in Plant City, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: POWRACHUTE LLC AIRWOLF 912ULS, registration: N415BA
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor was providing a demonstration/instructional flight to the passenger the day after the powered parachute had been setup as a static display at an air show. After performing a preflight inspection and arranging the parachute, the flight instructor briefed the passenger that they would approach the runway from the northwest, and then depart along the runway to the south. The flight instructor then started the engine, “kited” the parachute, and proceeded southeast toward the runway and the 75-foot-tall trees along its eastern edge. Upon reaching the western edge of the runway, the flight instructor increased the engine power, and the powered parachute lifted off from the ground; however, it was still oriented at an angle to the runway, and it continued on its southeasterly track toward the trees ahead. The flight instructor attempted to use the steering controls of the parachute to steer the vehicle to the right away from the trees but found them to be ineffective. He then attempted to pull on both of the steering lines to give the parachute additional lift, but the vehicle then impacted the tops of the trees and fell to the ground. A postaccident examination revealed a noticeable relative difference in the adjusted length of the left and right steering lines, which was also evident in an onboard video of the accident flight. According to published FAA guidance regarding takeoffs in powered parachutes, “The takeoff surface should be firm, free of debris, and not have any obstructions along the takeoff path.”

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

The flight instructor’s failure to ensure an obstruction-free takeoff path prior to initiating the takeoff and his inadequate preflight inspection of the powered parachute’s flight controls, which resulted in a collision with trees during the takeoff.

Full narrative available

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