NTSB Identification: FTW97LA325.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 22, 1997 in MARIETTA, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-180, registration: N177MM
Injuries: 4 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 stated that 'the winds were light to variable from the northeast and I decided to takeoff to the north.' He said that the first half of the runway was down hill and the second half was up hill; this was followed by a 100 foot wide 'canyon,' and then by rising terrain. He said that approximately one third of the way down the airstrip, a 'slightly elevated' road crossed the runway which was 'very rough to transition' during takeoff roll. The pilot reported that he 'immediately raised the landing gear and flaps when he became airborne.' He stated that 'after flying over the canyon, he noticed that the airplane seemed to fall out from under him.' The pilot stated that he 'elected to belly the airplane in on the grassy area, on the rising terrain, prior to the trees.' The Pilot's Operating Handbook states: 'On takeoff, do not retract the gear prematurely. The aircraft may settle and make contact with the ground because of lack of flying speed, atmospheric conditions or rolling terrain.' The pilot stated to the FAA inspector that 'the aircraft might have been able to out climb the terrain had he not retracted the flaps.' The end of civil twilight was 2033.

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

The pilot's failure to follow procedures/directives for takeoff. Factors were the runway's rough/uneven condition and the hilly terrain on the departure end of the runway.

Full narrative available

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