On December 26, 1999, about 1330 hours Pacific standard time, a Luscombe 8A, N45886, owned and operated by the pilot, descended back to the ground during the takeoff initial climb from the Ocean Ridge Airport, Gualala, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the personal flight that was being performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane was substantially damaged upon impacting terrain on the airport. Neither the student pilot nor passenger was injured. The cross-country flight was originating at the time of the accident as a flight to Sonoma, California.

The manager of the uncontrolled airport witnessed the accident. He reported that the airplane lifted off from runway 13, and thereafter it appeared to stall. The airplane rolled left, impacted terrain, and cartwheeled.

The pilot had previously soloed from the Sonoma Skypark Airport. Copies of records provided by the pilot indicated that on June 22, 1999, his student pilot certificate was endorsed by a flight instructor authorizing solo flight in the Luscombe 8A. The student did not provide any logbook evidence indicating he had been authorized to solo from the Ocean Ridge Airport.

The pilot's student certificate did not bear an endorsement for solo cross-country flight. The student's last 90-day logbook endorsement authorizing solo flight was dated June 22, 1999.

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