NTSB Identification: FTW03FA008.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 08, 2002 in Lakeview, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N4344J
Injuries: 3 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.

The single-engine airplane impacted a vertical bluff while maneuvering shortly after takeoff from a grass runway. The flight instructor, a private pilot, and a student flew to the airport, ate dinner, and departed just before nightfall because the runway did not utilize runway lights. Numerous witnesses reported the airplane did not accelerate normally during the takeoff roll, and it took nearly all of the 3,200-foot turf runway to liftoff. The witnesses then described a slow, nose-high climb. The airplane flew to the east along a river before turning to left prior to encountering power lines. The airplane impacted the bluff, and erupted in flames. A post-accident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no anomalies that would have prevented their normal operation. The flap handle was found selected to 25 degrees. People familiar with the airport indicated that the best way to depart the airport area was to fly along a valley that veered toward the northeast instead of flying along the river as the accident flight did. The river is in line with steep bluffs and is crossed by a power lines.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain clearance with the terrain while maneuvering.

Full narrative available

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