NTSB Identification: BFO88FA082.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40433.
Accident occurred Sunday, September 11, 1988 in ORANGE, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/01/1990
Aircraft: PIPER J3C-65, registration: N98121
Injuries: 2 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 SAID THEY SAW THE ACFT ON TAKEOFF ROLL NEAR THE DEPARTURE END OF RWY 25. ACCORDING TO THE WITNESSES THE ACFT LIFTED OFF BUT SETTLED BACK DOWN ON THE RWY BEFORE IT LIFTED OFF AGAIN. WITNESSES SAID THE ACFT IMMEDIATELY TURNED LEFT AND BEGAN TO REVERSE COURSE. WITNESSES SAID THE ACFT WAS FLYING SLOWLY WITH THE WINGS ROCKING AS IT BEGAN TO TURN. THE ACFT CLIMBED TO ABOUT 50 FT AGL AND WAS ABOUT 300 FT SOUTH OF THE DEPARTURE END OF THE RUNWAY WHEN IT ABRUPTLY PITCHED DOWN AND DESCENDED TO THE GROUND. EXAMINATION OF THE ACFT DISCLOSED NO EVIDENCE OF MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION. THE PILOT POSTMORTEM EXAMINATION REVEALED NO EVIDENCE OF PHYSICAL IMPAIRMENT OR INCAPACITATION.

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

PILOT INITIATED LIFT OFF BEFORE FLYING SPEED WAS GAINED AND AS A RESULT THE AIRCRAFT HAD A LOSS OF AERODYNAMIC LIFT AND STALLED ON THE INITIAL TAKEOFF CLIMB. THE PILOT'S INADEQUATE INFLIGHT DECISION AND FAILURE TO ABORT THE TAKEOFF ARE CONTRIBUTING FACTORS.

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