Florida man cheats death in Frostproof crash

Judging by the pictures and explanation of the aftermath of his 5 August crash, 71 year-old Lynn Nelsen of Frostproof, Florida must be one tough, lucky cookie.

Nelsen was trying to takeoff that day from a grass strip at the Lake Clinch Airpark in N13LN, an Arion Lightning low-wing, single-engine light sport aircraft when he apparently took off at too low an airspeed. 

“As I passed my normal rotation position, I rotated the aircraft without checking the airspeed. It started a left roll as it cleared the runway, and my corrections seemed to have no effect,” Nelsen told the NTSB.

“As I looked ahead I saw I was about to hit a light pole head on. I attempted another correction, and said “OH S—” as I closed my eyes. This had taken about 2 or 3 seconds after lift off. WHAM! I opened my eyes and I was upside down still strapped in the airplane.”

Here’s what Nelsen would have seen as he walked away after unstrapping and kicking out the remainder of the canopy.
Jensen Arion Lightning.png
Other than the fact the Nelsen lived to talk about it, best part of the story is how the 12,000hr pilot discusses in nonchalant terms the turn of events:

“I do not remember removing my seat belt, but I crawled out of the airplane and briefly surveyed what remained,” Nelsen said. “The airplane was upside down in a neighbor’s old orange grove. The left wing was missing, the LH main wheel and axle were laying a few feet back along the obvious path of the airplane.”

“I climbed the fence and dropped back to the runway. I saw a neighbor running down the road, and as I got closer he was obviously talking on a cell phone. I told him I was OK and did not want any medical assistance. As I was walking down the road towards my house, the first vehicle of the emergency crew roared past.”

Why’d it happen? In part, Nelsen thinks it’s because he wasn’t wearing his headsets (they were in the shop getting fixed) and the engine sounded louder than usual.

“I think this accident could have been prevented if I had put on a headset and if I had checked my airspeed indication prior to lift off,” he said.

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