During the takeoff roll, and after the tailwheel had lifted, the aircraft swung left and headed towards a fence/hedge in an adjacent field. The pilot was unable to correct the swing using right rudder pedal and there was insufficient space to abandon the takeoff, so he attempted to lift the aircraft off the ground and clear the fence/hedge. However, the main landing gear struck the fence/hedge, and the aircraft fell into the next field where it came to rest with its nose and left wing resting on the ground.
Inspection of the aircraft’s tyre marks along the grass runway, revealed that those on the left side were deeper than those on the right because the grass there was wetter and softer. The pilot assessed that the drag on the left main gear was increased by the soft ground and he had insufficient rudder authority to overcome this. Earlier that day, when he arrived, he landed further along the runway and the ground there had been firmer. He believed that if he had inspected the threshold area before leaving he might have noticed the soft ground and avoided it, by taking off along the right side of the 15 m wide runway.
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Published 8 February 2018