CHI98LA211
CHI98LA211

On June 20, 1998, at 1930 central daylight time, a Hartzler Nieuport 11, N921DH, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage when it impacted the terrain, following a loss of control during takeoff from runway 17 at the Gardner Municipal Airport, near Gardner, Kansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot's written statement, he was going to fly one more flight around the traffic pattern for some individuals to take photographs of his aircraft. The pilot stated that there was a dark storm cell approximately 3 statute miles north of the airport which moving to the east. The pilot stated that after the aircraft rotated the normal climb speed of 55 mph seemed to diminish rapidly upon reaching and altitude of 8 to 10 feet above ground level. The pilot stated that his back "stick pressure produced a stall", followed by an uncontrollable sink that resulted in the aircraft impacting on the right side of the runway 17. Witnesses to the accident stated that the wind sock was limp at the start of the takeoff roll, but indicated strong gusting winds as the pilot rotated.

Post accident investigation showed that there was thunderstorm activity in the area. There were reports of high, gusting, winds in the area at the time of the accident. Subsequent to the accident, the pilot stated in a interview with a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector that he had made a poor decision by taking off with the approaching thunderstorm in the area.

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