On July 5, 1997, at 1500 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-12, N7799H, veered off the right side of runway 23 during an attempted takeoff, and collided with an embankment at a private airstrip in Swansboro, North Carolina. The banner tow flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The rated pilot was not injured. The local flight departed Swansboro, North Carolina, at approximately 0900.

The pilot reported that they had a busy morning and afternoon of banner activity. On this leg of the operation, he dropped the banner as normal, and returned to the airstrip for a normal landing. The airplane touched down at the mid-field point of the 2400 foot long sod strip. After rolling several hundred feet, the airplane started drifting right of the centerline. As the airplane neared the edge of the runway, the pilot advanced the throttle and attempted a takeoff. The airplane continued off the right side of runway 23 and collided with an embankment. According to the pilot, he experienced gusting winds during the attempted landing.

During the examination of the airframe, corrosion was found on the right landing gear strut. A review of the aircraft records also showed previous corrosion on the left landing gear strut. The landing assembly remained intact throughout the landing roll on the runway. The left main landing gear was torn from the airframe after the airplane departed the runway surface. The examination of the brake system failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction or component failure. The pilot did not report a mechanical problem with the airplane.

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