NTSB Identification: CHI98LA224.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 27, 1998 in LIBERAL, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/15/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-235, registration: N8903W
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

A witness watched the airplane as it was making its takeoff run from a dirt road. The airplane's tail seemed to strike the crest of a hill, but the airplane did not takeoff. Further down the road, the witness saw the airplane get airborne and begin a turn to the left. The airplane then descended rapidly and hit the ground left wing first. The witness said that the airplane seemed to be rolling and going inverted before it struck the ground. About three seconds after the airplane hit the ground, it burst into flames. The airplane came to rest 25 feet south of a severed power pole, which was approximately 1/2 mile from where the airplane began its takeoff run. Examination of wreckage revealed no anomalies. According to the Piper PA-28 Cherokee 235 'B' Pilot Operating Handbook Takeoff Distance versus Density Altitude Chart, the takeoff distance needed to clear a 50 foot obstacle, for a 2,900 pound gross weight airplane with a density altitude of 6,364 feet msl, is approximately 2,550 feet.

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

the inadvertent stall, the pilot's inadequate preflight planning, which led to performing a takeoff with insufficient distance to clear the utility pole. A factor which contributed to this accident was the utility pole.

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