On June 13, 1999, about 1830 eastern daylight time, a Lake LA-4-200, N142JM, registered to a private individual, impacted with the water during takeoff from Lake Wyle, Charlotte, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 local personal flight. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The commercial-rated pilot reported no injuries. The flight was originating at the time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot he had taxied to the main channel, performed a run-up, waited until the boat traffic "died down and the water got relatively calm...." He stated, "...I headed south and climbed up on the step. After getting on the step I reduced power to test the ride...I determined that the water was smooth enough to start my take off run so I advanced the throttle to max power and began to accelerate to lift off speed (60 mph). At about 50 mph IAS [indicated airspeed] I hit a large wave (wake) and aircraft was catapulted into the air. I maintained a slight nose high altitude and the aircraft settled back to the water. At this point the aircraft was again catapulted into the air by a second wave." The pilot aborted the takeoff, reduced power, said he held the nose up and "intended to tail land" into the water, as per the aircraft's manual. He further stated that, "...as the bottom of the tail of the aircraft struck the water the nose dropped through level flight altitude [sic] and struck the water in a slight nose down altitude [sic]. The aircraft came to a stop and...water spray covered the windscreen...I remember hearing the engine still running so I reached up and moved the mixture to idle cutoff." Some boaters came to the pilot's rescue and helped him tow the airplane to shore. About 25 yards from shore the airplane nosed over and the tail stood straight up. The airplane continued to go nose down in the water and sank upside down.
According to the FAA inspector's statement, "...it was determined that while on takeoff run, N142MJ...caught a wave at the rear and plowed into the water...investigation seems to indicate that the pilot's recovery technique from encountering a wave during takeoff are questionable."