FTW98LA048
FTW98LA048

On October 31, 1997, approximately 1830 mountain standard time, a Cessna 150F, N7934F, was substantially damaged when it struck a tree and fence posts during takeoff from a field near Brigham City, Utah. The private pilot, the sole occupant aboard, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight was originating when the accident occurred.

The pilot's son, a student pilot, had used the airplane earlier in the day to make a round robin cross-country flight to Ogden, Utah. He made a forced landing in an open field near Brigham City Airport due to fuel exhaustion. The cause of the fuel exhaustion, according to an FAA inspector, was that the fuel filter housing was leaking. No airplane damage or occupant injuries were sustained in the forced landing.

The airplane owner went to the site with the intention of ferrying the airplane to Brigham City, located about 3 miles to the north. He was concerned about vandalism and was reluctant to transport the airplane by truck, admitting "I allowed impatience and fear of vandalism to cloud my judgment." He serviced the airplane with 5 gallons of 87 octane autogas [the airplane has an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) for autogas usage]. He then preflighted the airplane and found no discernible damage as a result of the forced landing. Monitoring Brigham City's AWOS (Automatic Weather Observation Station) broadcast on the aircraft's radio, the pilot said the wind was from 315 degrees at 8 knots and the proposed takeoff direction was aligned with the wind. The temperature was 55 degrees F. The pilot said he "stepped off" the field. Consulting the Pilot's Operating Handbook, he determined there was 30 percent more field available than that required for a short-field takeoff.

The pilot took off using 300 feet for the ground roll with the flaps set at 20 degrees. About five feet above the ground, he initiated a shallow right turn. The airplane "over-responded and rolled too far to the right." The pilot leveled the wings but found the airplane wanted to fly "with the right wing down." He concluded the wing had struck the ground during the turn and damaged the aileron. He decided to make an immediate landing. During the landing, the airplane struck the fence surrounding the field. Postaccident inspection revealed damage to the right aileron and wing, left horizontal stabilizer, and fuselage skin near the left landing gear attach point. An FAA inspector who went to the scene determined that the right wing had struck a tree during the takeoff attempt.

According to the Cessna 150F Pilot's Operating Handbook, the use of "10 degrees wing flaps reduces the total distance over an obstacle by approximately 10%. Flap deflections greater than 10 degrees are not approved for takeoff." The investigation also revealed the pilot's third class medical certificate had expired and he had not accomplished a recent biennial flight review.

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