On May 4, 2002, about 1810 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150, N4151F, was substantially damaged during an attempted takeoff from a private airstrip near Middleville, New York. The certificated private pilot received minor injuries, and the passenger was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight. No flight plan had been filed for the personal flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated:
"...After a straight ground roll of 200-250 feet the aircraft became airborne. Upon liftoff the aircraft veered to the right apparently after encountering a strong gusts of wind from the left. Due to the low altitude and rising terrain initially only full left rudder was applied with the wings remaining level. Subsequently left aileron applied and the aircraft came back but not enough to clear obstacles. Power was reduced to abort the takeoff and the aircraft struck a pile of dirt off the right side of the runway and overturned."
During a telephone interview, the pilot reported that he initially tried to correct using rudder only; however, the airplane did not immediately correct. The pilot said that he was hesitant to use aileron due to his low altitude; however, he eventually did use aileron and rudder together, and the airplane started to correct back to the runway. Due to obstacles ahead, he then elected to abort the takeoff, and retarded the power while the airplane was still to the right side of the runway. Upon touchdown, the airplane struck a low berm with the main landing gear and nosed over.
The closest weather reporting station, Utica, New York, was located 19 nautical miles distant on a magnetic heading of 280 degrees. The 1756 observation recorded the winds as variable at 5 knots. The pilot reported that according to both windsocks on the airfield, the wind was from 330 degrees at 10 knots.
The pilot also reported that his direction of takeoff was uphill. He chose the direction because of the winds as observed on the two windsocks, near the end of the runway where he initiated his takeoff. The pilot added that he felt uncomfortable taking off with a tailwind, even though it was downhill.
An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the airport was located on top of a hill and subject to variable winds. In addition, he reported that the right wing was bent rearward about 15 to 20 degrees, and the fuselage was bent. The inspector reported the runway was aligned 150 and 330 degrees, and had a combination dirt/turf surface. The runway was about 1,900 feet long and 100 feet wide.
The pilot reported that he had flown out of the airport for 2 years. Further, he reported his total flight experience as 171 hours with 155 hours in the same make and model, and 6 hours in the preceding 90 days.