NTSB Identification: WPR13CA039
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 11, 2012 in Carlsbad, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/13/2013
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 pilot intended to practice touch-and-go landings on a runway nearly aligned with the reported 9-knot wind, in clear weather conditions. He noted no mention of any wind gusts in the airport’s automatic terminal information service weather information before he took off. However, the pilot noticed light turbulence during the right crosswind and downwind legs in the traffic pattern. After a short approach and a smooth landing, he applied power, achieved rotation speed, and lifted off again. However, when the airplane was only a few feet off the ground, the wind started to blow it left of the center line. Although the pilot applied full rudder and aileron deflection to counter the crosswind, the airplane continued to track toward the side of the runway and was not climbing at a rate that would clear parked aircraft. The pilot aborted the takeoff, and the airplane subsequently collided with the tail of a parked helicopter, spun a few degrees clockwise, and came to rest on its left wing, which sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported that he had flown about 3 hours in the accident airplane, which was a light sport airplane. He believed that because of the airplane’s relatively light weight, it was more susceptible to crosswind and turbulence than other airplanes he had flown. He also noted that the controls were configured significantly different than any of the other airplanes he had flown. His previous flights took place in calm air, and the pilot thought that his time in the accident airplane was insufficient to instill the reflexive familiarity necessary to control the airplane during the accident takeoff.

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

The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during takeoff, which resulted in a runway excursion and collision with parked aircraft. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of experience in the airplane make/model.

Full narrative available

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