The aircraft, with the pilot and a passenger aboard, was taking off from a grass strip near Over, Gloustershire. There was a light crosswind from the left and the grass was damp. Pre-flight inspection and engine power checks were normal.
On takeoff the aircraft accelerated normally and at approximately 42 mph IAS the pilot initiated rotation. He described the rotation as ‘slightly heavier’ than usual. As the aircraft lifted off the pilot felt the aircraft lose momentum and turn markedly to the left, taking the aircraft over the ploughed field to the left of the runway. The pilot, not wanting to put the nose down over the ploughed field, applied full right rudder to turn back towards the runway but as he did this the right wing dropped and the wing tip contacted the ground. The aircraft came to rest on the left side of the runway and fire was seen at the front of the engine cowling. The pilot and passenger exited the aircraft unaided with only minor injuries. The aircraft was substantially damaged by the fire.
The pilot believes that the engine suffered a power loss during rotation which led to the left wing stall; the application of the right rudder then caused the right wing to stall. Due to the fire damage it was not possible to determine why the engine lost power.
The aircraft was approximately 4% above its maximum takeoff weight. This would have reduced the stall margin giving the pilot very little time to react to any loss of power.
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