NTSB Identification: LAX99LA254.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 17, 1999 in MAMMOTH LAKES, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/14/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA32R-300, registration: N1692H
Injuries: 2 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 added full fuel prior to departure. The AWOS (Automated Weather Observing System) reported the density altitude was 9,400 feet. He reviewed the procedures for a high altitude takeoff, completed an engine run up, and leaned for departure. After taxiing into position for takeoff, he applied the brakes then power. The runway was slightly uphill and the pilot did not feel the airplane was developing full power, but he did not abort the takeoff. The airplane climbed approximately 200 feet, but would not climb higher. After deciding an attempt to turn could induce a stall, the pilot lowered the landing gear and airspeed as much as possible. He maintained a controlled descent into the terrain and estimated his speed at touchdown was 50 to 60 knots. The pilot felt the density altitude prevented the airplane from climbing. The airport had an elevation of 7,128 feet msl (mean sea level). An aviation routine weather report (METAR) issued reported the temperature was 73 degrees Fahrenheit and the altimeter setting was 30.22 inHg.

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

The pilot's failure to attain and maintain an adequate airspeed for the prevailing density altitude. The pilot's failure to abort the takeoff is also causal.

Full narrative available

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