On January 5, 2001, at 1701 central standard time, a Cessna 177RG, single-engine airplane, N45373, sustained substantial damage when the left wing struck trees during the takeoff/initial climb from the Wardlaw White Ranch, near Del Rio, Texas. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Neither the private pilot nor his two passengers were injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the planned cross-country flight to the Angleton/Lake Jackson Brazoria County Airport, between Angleton and Lake Jackson, Texas, and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that the private ranch gravel airstrip (approximately 1,850 feet long and 60 feet wide) was located approximately 40 nautical miles north of Del Rio, Texas. Earlier that day, the pilot had made his first landing at the airstrip when he and his passengers arrived from Lake Jackson, Texas. Later that day the group planned to depart the ranch and return to Lake Jackson.

During the takeoff roll to the northwest, the airplane had lifted off the runway and traveled along the ground when the left wing "was suddenly hit by wind shear causing the left wing to go down and aircraft drift to the left suddenly." The left wing struck a cedar bush. Subsequently, the airplane veered left off the runway, struck mesquite brush, and spun around approximately 20-30 degrees. The pilot pulled aft on the yoke and pulled the throttle to idle. The airplane struck the ground, the nose gear collapsed and the airplane came to rest upright in a ravine. The pilot reported clear skies with the wind from the northwest at 10 knots, and a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

The FAA inspector, who responded to the site, found that cedar bark and limbs were missing from one tree and numerous branches were missing from the mesquite brush. The airplane was resting nose down in the ravine. The FAA inspector found the outboard three feet of the left wing destroyed, both horizontal stabilizers crushed aft, and the fuselage twisted.

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