On June 18, 2012, at 1530 eastern daylight time, a Piper J3C-65, N7075H, collided with trees shortly after takeoff from the McIntosh Airport (OH59), Farmersville, Ohio. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and the intended destination of Springfield, Ohio.

The pilot departed runway 27 and reported that after liftoff a gust of wind pushed the airplane to the right side of the runway. The pilot was able to level the airplane and continued on a heading 45 degrees from the runway heading. Once out of ground effect, the airplane “felt underpowered.” He stated he looked at the engine controls and everything was normal except the tachometer was indicating 2,050 rpm.

The pilot stated he planned to make a 180 turn, but decided not to because of the lack of altitude and wind condition. As he continued straight ahead (45 degrees from the runway heading), he noted a line of trees in front of him which he was not going to be able to clear. He then made an abrupt turn toward a more heavily wooded area. He stated he decided to contact the tree tops in a large wooded area instead of contacting a single tree. The pilot stated that he pulled back on the control stick just as the airplane was encountering the tops of the trees. The airplane impacted the tree tops and descended to the terrain.

The pilot reported that had he maintained the runway heading, he may have been able to land the airplane back on the runway.

A postaccident inspection of the aircraft and engine was conducted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors. There were no mechanical failures/malfunctions identified that would have resulted in the degraded engine power as reported by the pilot.

The closest weather reporting facility to the accident site was at the Middletown Regional Airport (MWO) Middletown, Ohio, which was located approximately 12 miles south-southeast of the accident site. At 1535 the weather conditions were recorded as: wind from 230 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 20 knots; 10 miles visibility; clear skies; temperature 31 degrees Celsius; dewpoint 21 degrees Celsius; and altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury. FAA guidance noted a possibility of serious carburetor icing at glide power under those conditions. The accident airport elevation was 914 feet. Based on the recorded weather data, the corresponding density altitude was about 3,265 feet.

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