NYC00LA178
NYC00LA178

On July 26, 2000, at 1041 Eastern Daylight Time, a homebuilt Lionheart, N985CC, was substantially damaged during an attempted takeoff from Genesee County Airport (GVQ), Batavia, New York. The certificated private pilot and the two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan had been filed for the flight, between Batavia and Wittman Regional Airport (OSH), Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that prior to taxiing onto Runway 28, he noticed that the windsock was "hanging limp." The takeoff run was normal, the tailwheel lifted off the ground, and then the airplane lifted off. Normal procedure was to hold the airplane in ground effect to increase airspeed. However, almost immediately after liftoff, the nose of the airplane swung to the right, and the airplane became "almost uncontrollable." The pilot then advanced the throttle to beyond manifold pressure redline, to full throttle. The airplane would not accelerate and the "nose would not come down." In addition, "holding the wings level was very difficult. Since the plane was heading in the wrong direction, and only about 10 feet off the ground, the throttle was closed and the airplane came down tailwheel first." The airplane then "encountered an embankment and the markers around the windsock." After the airplane came to a stop, the pilot "noticed the windsock indicating about 10-12 knots from [approximately] 120 degrees."

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot reported that during the takeoff roll, the airplane became airborne approximately 1,000 feet down the runway. The airplane became "unstable", the wings rocked from side to side, and the airplane did not appear to be accelerating. The airplane veered to the right, and over the turf.

The inspector found that the airplane's tailwheel struck the turf about 27 feet to the right of the pavement. It dragged for about 75 feet, until the main landing gear contacted the ground. The right main landing gear separated from the wing, and propeller grooves were observed in the earth. The airplane path continued in an approximately 20-degree angle from the pavement, and up a rise, where the lower right wing struck the retaining structure of the tetrahedron delineating circle. The airplane then spun to the right about 180 degrees, and slid backwards on its belly about 75 feet.

The inspector also noted that all of the airplane's controls appeared to be operative, and that the pilot had stated that the engine operated normally prior to the propeller contacting the ground. The pilot further stated that he thought he had attempted the takeoff at too low of an airspeed, and that the airplane had stalled as he attempted to gain altitude.

Winds, reported 13 minutes after the accident at airport 25 nautical miles away, were variable, at 3 knots.

The pilot reported that he had about 7,200 hours of flight time. He also had 5 hours in the accident airplane, with half of those on the day of the accident.

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