On September 22, 1998, about 1300 Alaska daylight time, a wheel equipped Piper PA-12 airplane, N7689H, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from a dry lakebed located about 6 miles east of New Stuyahok, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was filed. The flight originated at the New Stuyahok Airport, New Stuyahok, about 1225.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge on September 23, the pilot reported that he was attempting a southwesterly departure from a 400 feet long dry lakebed. He stated that midway into the takeoff run, he realized that the airplane would be unable to gain sufficient altitude to clear a stand of trees at the end of the lakebed. The pilot said that he aborted the takeoff, and landed about midpoint on the lakebed. He realized that he would be unable to stop the airplane before reaching the end of the lakebed, and elected to make a hard right turn. During the turn, the left wing and left elevator struck the ground, and received substantial damage.

The pilot noted that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

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