NTSB Identification: FTW97LA107.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, February 18, 1997 in SALIDA, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/25/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-300, registration: N4477F
Injuries: 5 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 reported that during takeoff roll the aircraft accelerated to 60 MPH like it 'normally' does; however, it took 'longer than normal to accelerate to 80 MPH.' The aircraft appeared to 'lift off fine, but it didn't seem to climb as well as he would have liked.' He put the gear up and about 30 to 35 feet above the runway he lowered the aircraft's nose to accelerate to the best angle of climb airspeed. Instead of accelerating and continuing to climb, the aircraft began to descend. He 'cut the power,' and as the airplane touched down, the nose and left main landing gear collapsed. The airplane has automatic extending landing gear. The pilot did not use any flaps for the takeoff. The pressure altitude at the time of the accident was 7,489 feet and the temperature was 48 degrees Fahrenheit. The performance data derived for these conditions would be off of the chart. In the same section, there is a warning that, 'Performance information derived by extrapolation beyond the limits shown on the charts should not be used for flight planning purposes.' This was the pilot's third takeoff from a high altitude airport. Runway 24 rises 1.9 degrees, which equates to a 117 foot rise.

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

The airplane's performance being exceeded due to the pilot's inadequate preflight planning. Factors were the uphill runway, high density altitude, and the pilot's lack of experience performing takeoffs from a high altitude airport.

Full narrative available

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