NTSB Identification: CEN12LA381
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 18, 2012 in Farmersville, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: PIPER J3C-65, registration: N7075H
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 airplane departed with a left crosswind that was 15 knots gusting to 20 knots. After liftoff, the wind pushed the airplane to the right of the runway. The pilot leveled the airplane and continued on a heading 45 degrees from the runway heading. The pilot reported the airplane “felt underpowered” and the tachometer was indicating 2,050 rpm. He noted a line of trees in front of him that he was not going to be able to clear. He then made an abrupt turn toward a more heavily wooded area. He stated he decided to contact the tree tops in a large wooded area instead of contacting a single tree. The airplane contacted the tree tops and descended to the terrain. A postaccident inspection of the airplane and engine did not reveal any mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have resulted in degraded engine power as reported by the pilot. The accident airport elevation was 914 feet. Based on the recorded weather data, the corresponding density altitude was about 3,265 feet and carburetor icing should not have been a factor. High density altitude can reduce an airplane's climb capability.

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

The pilot did not maintain directional control of the airplane on takeoff after noting reduced engine power in high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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