NTSB Identification: SEA02LA165.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 25, 2002 in Melstone, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Bellanca 7GCBC, registration: N36596
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, who was attempting a takeoff in a 750 foot area in an open field, realized during the takeoff roll that the aircraft might not clear a known three foot ditch berm at the departure end of the takeoff area. Although he became unsure whether the aircraft would clear the obstacle, he continued the attempted takeoff, and both of the aircraft's main landing gear were torn from their mounts when they eventually collided with the berm. The density altitude was approximately 4740 feet, and the pilot, who had not performed any pre-takeoff performance calculations, had based his assumption that the aircraft could get off in the available distance upon the fact that a Piper Super Cub had successfully taken off from the field in the past.

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

The pilot's improper decision to continue a takeoff once it had become apparent that it was questionable whether the aircraft would clear an obstacle at the departure end of the takeoff area. Factors include the pilot's failure to perform pre-takeoff performance calculations, a high density altitude, and a ditch berm at the end of the area the pilot was using for the attempted takeoff.

Full narrative available

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