NTSB Identification: FTW97LA251.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 04, 1997 in POWDERLY, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/07/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 172G, registration: N3888L
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

During the preflight inspection, the pilot added a quart of engine oil. Shortly after liftoff, the oil access door on the cowling came open. The pilot elected to continue the takeoff on the 3,100 foot runway due to a concern that he did not have enough runway remaining to stop. Witnesses observed the airplane turn to the left, enter a steep descent, and impact the ground. The pilot stated that he 'must have became fixated on the flopping door.' Examination of the engine did not reveal evidence of any pre-impact mechanical discrepancies that would have resulted in a power loss.

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

The inadvertent stall due to the pilot's diverted attention to an open service door. A factor was the inadequate preflight inspection by the pilot.

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