NTSB Identification: ANC97LA030.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 26, 1997 in DILLINGHAM, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N32979
Injuries: 7 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot and 6 passengers were departing a private airstrip on a charter flight with a special VFR clearance. The gravel airstrip was 2,400 feet long, was at an elevation of 80 feet mean sea level, and was oriented on a 110/290 degree magnetic heading. The runway was covered by slushy snow, about 1-1/2 inches deep. The pilot attempted to depart on runway 11, but aborted the takeoff. He then attempted to depart on runway 29. He indicated that about 1/2 of the way down the runway, the airspeed was about 5 knots below takeoff speed. He elected to continue the takeoff, but the airspeed then dropped, and the airplane departed the end of the runway without ever lifting off. The airplane received damage to the engine, nose gear, and firewall. The pilot reported the wind was from the southwest at 15 knots. An official weather reporting station, 3 miles from the accident site, reported the wind was from 160 degrees (true) at 11 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's selection of unsuitable terrain for departure, and his inadequate evaluation of the wind conditions. Factors associated with the accident were: a snow/slush covered runway, and a quartering tailwind.

Full narrative available

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