NTSB Identification: NYC00LA065.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 08, 2000 in HARPSWELL, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-301T, registration: N8463X
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 departed on runway 32, an unlighted turf runway on a dark night. When he rotated, he lost sight of the trees on the sides of the runway, and the runway ahead. The right wing of the airplane struck trees on the right side of the runway prior to the departure end of the runway. The pilot continued with the takeoff and climbed to altitude. He reported that he was not certain if the wind drifted the airplane to the right, or he initiated a slight right turn. Winds in the area were reported to be from 210 to 220 degrees at 10 to 14 knots. Upon landing at a nearby airport, examination of the airplane revealed the right main landing gear was bent rearward, and the spar of the right horizontal stabilator had been bent rearward.

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

was the improper decision of the pilot to depart at night, from an unlighted runway with no visual references to obstructions on the sides of the runway. Factors were the dark night conditions, and the lack of runway side lights.

Full narrative available

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