On October 15, 1998, about 1845 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Sonerai II, N5DZ, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during takeoff from the Hardin County Airport (I95), Kenton, Ohio. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a written statement the pilot said the accident flight was his first flight in the tail-wheeled airplane. After several taxi trips on the runway to establish the airplane's ground handling characteristics, and to familiarize himself with the "visual perspective," a takeoff was initiated. The pilot stated the elevator trim was at a "too nose high attitude." The pilot further stated:

"...the aircraft became light on the wheels quite early...once the aircraft was 5-10 feet above the ground, all visual relationship with runway was lost due to the aircraft's limited visibility. Airspeed was 45-50 mph as the airplane ascended to about 20 feet and broke free of ground effect. (Aircraft stall speed is 55-60 mph) At which time the plane stalled straight level and impacted the ground....

Examination of the wreckage by an FAA Inspector did not reveal any pre-impact abnormalities of the airframe or engine.

A review of the pilot's logbook revealed 90 hours of total flight experience, all in tricycle gear aircraft.

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