Loss of control during takeoff ground roll, Manchester/Barton Aerodrome, 14 May 2016
When commencing takeoff on grass Runway 26L, the pilot believed there was a moderate crosswind from his right. As he reached flying speed, his rudder and aileron control inputs suddenly seemed ineffective. The right wing lifted and the aircraft yawed quickly to the right through 90º. The left wheel dug into the ground and detached and the left wing then struck the runway. This caused the aircraft to yaw left, while pitching nose-down until the propeller made ground contact. The aircraft then fell back onto its tailwheel and right mainwheel and the two occupants vacated, without assistance.
Airport records indicated the wind direction that afternoon was predominantly northerly, at 10 kt or less but with occasional gusts of up to 15 kt. Approximately six minutes before the accident, it veered east of north and, before takeoff, the pilot was informed that the wind was from 030º at 7 kt. However, he recalled seeing no downwind component for Runway 26L on the windsock situated nearest the threshold. Immediately after the accident, he sensed the wind was extremely variable and suspected a sudden wind shift caused the loss of control.
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Published: 11 August 2016
Date of occurrence: 14 May 2016