The local parachuting flight was to depart from the airport owned and maintained by the pilot. During the initial climb after takeoff from runway 09, the airplane drifted right and struck trees about 500 feet down the runway. The pilot stated that he did not see the trees before hitting them. A passenger stated that the pilot did not make any changes to the airplane’s flight path prior to impact with the trees.
Prior to the day of the accident, the pilot had not flown out of the airstrip. During takeoff, the airplane traveled over a ‘soft spot’, and began to veer to the left. The pilot was unable to correct the turn, the airplane went off the left side of the runway and struck a tree. The runway was 1,515 feet long, 110 feet wide, and consisted of soft turf. Review of the pilot’s weight and balance calculations revealed that the airplane was approximately 300 pounds over the maximum gross takeoff weight.