LAX99LA171
LAX99LA171

On May 6, 1999, at 1550 hours mountain standard time, an experimental Widner RV-3A, N5287U, veered off runway 5 and nosed over during the takeoff ground roll at the Casa Grande, Arizona, airport. The airplane, owned and operated by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91, sustained substantial damage. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the personal cross-country flight that originated from the Needles, California, airport the day of the accident and had made an en-route fuel stop at Casa Grande. The flight was scheduled to terminate at the Deming, New Mexico, airport.

The closest official aviation weather observation station is the Phoenix, Arizona, airport, which is 31 nautical miles north of Casa Grande. Reported winds at Phoenix during the time of the accident were variable at 3 knots. The pilot and ground witnesses estimated the winds at Casa Grande to be from 300 degrees at 5 to 10 miles per hour.

The pilot stated that he had stopped at Casa Grande airport for fuel. He checked the windsock before departure and noted a 90-degree crosswind. He stated that the wind was not "excessively high" and decided that he could still depart from runway 5. During the takeoff roll, he heard another plane radio their intentions of landing on runway 23. He glanced up for a second to look for the traffic, and the plane weathervaned 45 degrees into the wind. He made an unsuccessful attempt to get the airplane airborne; however, the airplane departed the runway surface into a field where it subsequently nosed over.

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