NTSB Identification: LAX97FA328.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 21, 1997 in TORRANCE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/18/2000
Aircraft: Beech C23, registration: N543JL
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Witnesses reported that after takeoff, the airplane never climbed beyond 150 to 200 feet above ground level. One witness reported the airplane's rotation and initial climb were normal until it achieved 100 feet, then it began to pitch nose up until the witness could clearly see the tops of the wings. The airplane then rolled to the right and descended vertically. The airplane collided with a three-story commercial office building about 2,000 feet from the departure end of the runway and was partially consumed by a postimpact fire. An audiocassette re-recording from the airport noise-monitoring site was examined to document any engine or propeller sounds that could be heard during the takeoff. A video recording that was recovered from the accident aircraft was also examined to document the takeoff distance and airborne pitch attitude/flight path of the airplane. The video recording began just as the aircraft was taking the runway for departure and appeared to continue uninterrupted until the airplane crashed. The audio track of the video was examined to document any engine or propeller sounds heard during the takeoff. Engine rpm was derived from both the audio track of the video recording and the noise-monitoring recording. The engine speeds derived from the video recording were between 2,250 and 2,430 rpm. Engine speeds derived from the noise monitoring station started at 2,750 and decreased to 2,510 rpm. Directly above the monitoring station there was no alteration in the measured frequency due to the Doppler shift. No dramatic changes were observed in the frequencies associated with the aircraft's engine. Examination of the engine did not disclose evidence of mechanical malfunction.

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

The failure of the pilot to attain and maintain adequate airspeed during the initial takeoff climb, which resulted in a stall/spin and subsequent collision with a building.

Full narrative available

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