On June 15, 1997, about 1130 eastern daylight time, an experimental homebuilt, P51 Mustang, N515JB, struck trees during the takeoff roll at Farnsworth Airport, North Rose, New York. The airplane was destroyed, and the non-certificated pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight which was operated under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that he was destined for Weedport, New York. The airplane departed on runway 19, a turf runway that was 2,415 feet long, and 150 feet wide. In the NTSB Pilot/Operator Report, he stated:

"While taking off from Farnsworth Airport - the GPS hand held fell off dash of aircraft and lodged in control system and caused the operator to lose control - aircraft veered right and hit hedge row of trees, and flipped over, doing heavy damage. Pilot was OK - and walked away...."

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector reported that during the examination of the airplane, the GPS unit was not lodged in the rudder pedals, and he was unable to confirm the pilot's report that the rudder pedals were jammed.

Additionally, the pilot's student pilot certificate/airman medical certificate had expired on September 30, 1994, and he did not have a cross-country endorsement. The last annual inspection had expired on May 31, 1996, and the airplane did not have the special limitations required by special Airworthiness Certificate that was issued to the airplane.

The FAA inspector also reported that although the pilot reported a total time of 260 hours, with 40 hours in type, the hours were not documented in the pilot's logbook.

In the NTSB Accident Report, the pilot reported his total time as 100 hours, with 20 hours in the accident airplane.

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