On May 9, 1997, about 1400 mountain daylight time, N714VL, a Cessna 152 with a tail-wheel conversion, operated by the owner/pilot, nosed over and was substantially damaged while taking off from Deer Lodge, Montana. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR 91.

The pilot reported that he encountered a crosswind as the airplane's tail had just lifted from the runway during the takeoff roll. He stated that the airplane "...veered hard to the right of center" and he could not maintain directional control. He then attempted to stop the airplane by lowering the tail back onto the ground, decreasing engine power, and applying the brakes. The airplane departed off the side of the runway and into loose gravel. The pilot stated that he "... got on the brakes too hard and the aircraft nosed over." The pilot did not report any mechanical malfunctions, and he stated that he could have prevented the accident by "...not aborting the takeoff and flying the aircraft off the runway."

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector from Helena, Montana, the airplane was substantially damaged in the accident. No preimpact mechanical malfunctions were found. The pilot had just purchased the airplane and was flying it back to his home in Minnesota at the time of the accident. The pilot reported that he had about 15 hours of total flight time in type.

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