On March 10, 1996, at 1730 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182L, N3407R, was substantially damaged when it struck a snow bank during takeoff at the Whitfords Airport, Weedsport, New York. The private pilot and four passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Whitfords. No flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot stated that after fueling his airplane, he taxied to runway 01 and set the flaps for a short/soft field takeoff. He further stated:

"...I released the brakes and maintained runway heading. I brought the nose off the ground almost immediately, but the mains stayed grounded until the indicated airspeed was approximately 50 MPH. As the main gear lifted off, I felt the left main gear strike the left snow bank...I attempted to 'steer' aircraft back onto runway via rudder and aileron; however, the pressure of the snow was too great and was bringing the left wing down. I pulled throttle and mixture. Airplane nosed over..."

The pilot also stated, "Regardless of previous aircraft experience with this runway, on that date, this pilot did not have the experience to takeoff on a thin runway with cross wind potential."

In a written statement and telephone interview, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector stated that the pilot/owner kept his airplane at the Camillus Airport (NY35), Camillus, New York, which did not have fuel service. The pilot, three adults, and one infant, departed NY35 and flew to Whitfords (B16) to fuel the airplane. The pilot landed on runway 28, a 2,800 foot sod strip, which was covered with 6 to 8 inches of snow. The pilot refueled the airplane, and taxied out to runway 01, a 1,600 foot sod strip. Runway 01 was also snow covered, and had a path cleared down the middle about 18 feet wide.

The pilot stated to the FAA Inspector that he started the takeoff roll and rotated about 1,200 feet down the runway. After liftoff, the airplane drifted left, where the left main gear struck a snow bank and the airplane nosed over. The FAA Inspector also stated that B16 was NOTAM closed due to snow covered runways.

Winds reported at an airport 20 miles east of the departure airport were from 290 degrees at 10 knots. The pilot's total flying experience was about 135 hours, and he had not flown in the previous 90 days.

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