NTSB Identification: ERA12LA309
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 29, 2012 in Pilot Mountain, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18, registration: N5769D
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 retired airline pilot attempted to take off in his classic single-engine airplane from a dry, 1,900-foot-long turf airstrip. After liftoff, the pilot thought that the airplane would not clear transmission wires beyond the departure end of the runway. The pilot attempted to fly under the lowest wire, about 20 feet above the ground, but one wing caught the wire, and the airplane impacted the ground. No preexisting mechanical anomalies were noted with the airplane, and leading edge damage to both propeller blades indicated that the engine was producing power at impact. Although there was a discrepancy between the accident time as noted by the pilot and the approximate time noted by local authorities, there was a quartering tailwind at both times, ranging in velocity from 3 to 6 knots. In addition, temperatures and dew points from both times indicated a probability of carburetor ice formation during the pilot's reported 4 to 5 minutes of low-power taxi prior to takeoff. The extent to which a tailwind, carburetor ice, or some other phenomena might have singularly or cumulatively affected takeoff and climb performance could not be determined. However, it is likely that diminished performance existed throughout the airplane's takeoff roll, which should have allowed the pilot ample time to recognize it and to safely abort the takeoff in a timely manner.

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

The pilot's failure to abort the takeoff in a timely manner. Contributing to the accident was the airplaneā€™s reduced takeoff performance.

Full narrative available

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