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.”
“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.”
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.