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Aviation Accident

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA283
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 30, 2012 in Stanley, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/05/2013
Aircraft: STINSON 108, registration: N773C
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Before taking off from the 5,000-foot turf-dirt airstrip located at an altitude of 6,370 feet mean sea level, the pilot checked his performance charts and calculated that the density altitude was about 9,200 feet; this was 3,200 feet above the 6,000-foot maximum altitude listed in the takeoff performance charts. He also noted that at the time of departure, the wind was from 30 degrees at 10 knots, with gusts to 20 knots, which was close to a nearly direct tailwind for the takeoff from runway 23. The pilot indicated that the airplane was within 86 pounds of its maximum gross takeoff weight. When the airplane was about three-quarters of the way down the runway during the takeoff roll and not yet airborne, the pilot was about to abort the takeoff, but a gust of wind lifted the airplane in the air. The pilot thought the airplane would remain airborne, but when he could not get the airplane to climb as expected, he attempted to locate an open field to land in. However, the airplane subsequently encountered a downdraft, collided with a stand of trees, and came to rest inverted about 1.64 nautical miles from the departure end of the runway. A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s inadequate preflight planning and decision to takeoff at a density altitude outside of the airplane’s takeoff performance envelope, with a tailwind, and near the airplane’s maximum gross weight, which resulted in the airplane’s inability to climb and clear trees.