On September 5, 2001, about 1630 Alaska daylight time, a wheel-equipped Colburn Murphy Rebel, an experimental, homebuilt airplane, N407AC, sustained substantial damage during takeoff from an off airport site located about 78 miles north of Kotzebue, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The certificated airline transport pilot sustained serious injuries, and the one passenger was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at the accident site, and was en route to another remote off airport site.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge on September 6, the pilot reported that shortly after a downhill, easterly takeoff, the 10 knot prevailing wind shifted from east to west. The pilot said that the airplane would not climb, and subsequently collided with a stand of trees at the end of the site. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical problems with the airplane.

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