NTSB Identification: ERA13LA037
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 20, 2012 in Indian Trail, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172D, registration: N2879U
Injuries: 4 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 airplane departed from a 2,350 foot long runway that had tall trees located off its departure end. As loaded, with full fuel and the pilot and three passengers aboard, the airplane was about 117 pounds below its maximum gross operating weight at takeoff. The pilot selected 10 degrees of flaps for takeoff; however, the owner's manual stated that normal and obstacle clearance takeoffs were to be performed with wing flaps retracted and specified the use of takeoff flaps only for soft or rough fields.

Just after liftoff (the pilot estimated the altitude to be about 40 feet above the ground), the airspeed began to deteriorate and the stall warning sounded. Because of the row of trees off the end of the runway, the pilot could not land straight ahead, so he turned about 10 degrees left and aimed toward a shorter tree. The airplane’s right main landing gear impacted the tree, and the pilot landed the airplane on a nearby road. During the landing roll, the left wing struck a tree, the airplane swerved to the left, and the nose landing gear sheared off before the airplane slid to a stop.

Examination of the airplane and a postaccident engine run did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal engine operation. It is likely that the pilot’s improper use of flaps during takeoff while operating near the airplane’s maximum gross weight reduced the airplane’s climb capability and it was unable to clear the trees off the end of the departure runway.

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

The pilot’s improper use of flaps for takeoff, which resulted in the airplane’s failure to attain adequate climb airspeed and subsequent collision will trees during takeoff.

Full narrative available

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