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N46183 accident description

Vermont map... Vermont list
Crash location 42.924167°N, 72.529723°W
Nearest city Brattleboro, VT
42.862026°N, 72.618703°W
6.2 miles away
Tail number N46183
Accident date 28 Apr 2003
Aircraft type Aeronca AR-58-058B
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On April 28, 2003, at 1700 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca AR-58-058B, N46183, was substantially damaged shortly after takeoff from Moore's Field (VT41), Brattleboro, Vermont. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a telephone interview, the pilot stated that the airport consisted of a single grass runway about 1,700 feet in length, and 40 feet wide. The pilot had flown into the airport the previous September and had only made one flight since then, on April 25th, in which he performed three takeoffs and landings in the traffic pattern. The runway was oriented on a north-south heading, and while based at the airport, he had never taken off toward the south.

On the day of the accident, the pilot determined, by observing the windsock, that the winds were from the southwest, gusting to about 15 knots. He performed a preflight inspection, and decided to take off toward the south. During the takeoff climb, at an altitude of about 200 feet, a "gust of wind" forced the airplane downward, and the pilot was unable to continue the climb. The pilot initiated a turn to the left, and the airplane then "stalled into the trees."

The pilot reported no mechanical anomalies with the airplane, and stated that he "should have waited for the wind to stop gusting" before he departed.

A witness, who also had experience flying at the airport, stated that he observed the airplane depart toward the south and climb "slowly and steadily." As the airplane flew over a sandpit at the departure end of the runway, it "lost lift, and fell to the left, impacting trees." The witness stated that pilots based at the airport often expected downdrafts in the vicinity of the sandpit.

Another witness observed the airplane during the takeoff climb. She stated that it began to "wobble" from side to side, the left wing dropped, and it "fell into the trees."

An examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed substantial damage to both wings. No mechanical anomalies were noted.

Weather reported at the Hartness State Airport (VSF), Springfield, Vermont, 25 miles to the north, at 1654, included winds from 260 degrees true at 10 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 79 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 34 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter setting 29.75 inches Hg.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and a subsequent descent into trees. A factor in the accident was the downdrafts.

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