On July 8, 1997, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182A, N4951D, was destroyed when it collided with terrain during the initial takeoff climb from a corn field, near Hayfield Township, Pennsylvania. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight destined for the Moorhead Airpark Airport (PA08), North East, Pennsylvania. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
In a written statement, the pilot reported that he had performed a precautionary landing to a corn field due to strong winds, heavy rain, and low fuel. He refueled the airplane and planned to depart for PA08. Initially, the pilot performed a partial takeoff, which was aborted, to obtain the conditions of the field. The pilot then elected to takeoff. The pilot stated that during the takeoff, the airspeed was low, and that he overcorrected for gusty winds. The airplane's wing tip contacted the ground, and the airplane ground looped. A post crash fire ensued, which consumed the cabin.
The pilot further reported that he did not experience any mechanical malfunctions with the airplane, and examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector (FAA) did not disclose any evidence of mechanical abnormalities.
According to an FAA Inspector, the field that the pilot was attempting to depart from was sloped uphill and contained corn plants approximately 12 inches high.
A witness at the accident site stated, "...It was very windy and the ground was wet." Winds reported at a nearby airport, were from 230 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 23 knots.
PROBABLE CAUSE:The pilot's improper decision to attempt a takeoff from unsuitable terrain and failure to maintain airspeed. A factor in this accident was the gusty wind conditions.