NTSB Identification: MIA00FA126.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 02, 2000 in CHIPLEY, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/17/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 177RG, registration: N1997Q
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

The pilot received a weather briefing before departure and also requested an outlook for the next morning; the briefing specialist advising that he would be better off going tonight. A flashlight was placed on a fencepost midpoint of the runway and a car was positioned at the departure end of the runway facing the approach end with 'dim lights'. After rotation, the pilot-rated witness observed the airplane bank to the left. The airplane then pitched up steep, collided with the tops of trees that bordered the left side of the runway, and 'turned from an almost vertical nose up to a vertical nose down attitude to the right and hit the ground.' Postaccident examination of the flight controls and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction or engine mechanical failure, respectively. Bench testing of the servo fuel injector revealed the fuel flow was erratic and the fuel flow in terms of pounds per hour (pph) was 2.0 pph less than specified. The operator prohibited operations into grass airstrips; the pilot was reportedly previously made aware of this procedure. The pilot also did not meet the operator's prescribed number of complex takeoff and landings before rental.

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

The failure of the pilot to maintain runway alignment during the initial climb from the grass airstrip. Also, the excessive pull-up by the pilot and inadvertent stall. Findings in the investigation were 1) in-flight collision with the tops of trees and 2) the pilot's operation of the airplane into a grass airstrip contrary to the operator's procedures.

Full narrative available

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