NTSB Identification: CHI05FA080.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 27, 2005 in West Union, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/27/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-235, registration: N8966W
Injuries: 3 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 airplane collided with the terrain following a loss of control during takeoff on a 4,248 foot long, concrete runway. A witness reported seeing the airplane travel down the centerline of the runway, lift off, and settle back onto the runway. He stated he then heard the tires squeal and the airplane lifted off again, veering to the left. He stated the airplane's attitude was fairly level at this time and he thought to himself, "Come on [pilot's name], get some airspeed." The witness stated the airplane then banked to the left. The left wing contacted the ground and the airplane caught fire and became engulfed in flames. Inspection of the airplane and engine failed to reveal any pre-impact failures/malfunctions which would have resulted in the loss of control. The flaps were found set to 25 degrees, which is the flap setting normally used for short and soft field takeoffs. The normal takeoff flap configuration is zero degrees. The pilot had received his private pilot certificate one and a half months prior to the accident. The pilot's logbook indicated he had a total flight time of 73.3 hours of which 49.5 hours in the accident airplane. Two 14-pound weights were located in the rear fuselage area of the wreckage. The airplane owner stated they usually kept the weights in the airplane to help balance the airplane's cener of gravity when there were just two adults in the front seat. The aircraft occupants during the accident flight consisted of two adults in the front seats and two children in the rear seats.

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

The pilot's failure to abort the takeoff, his failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the takeoff, and the pull-up to avoid obstacles which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Factors associated with the accident were the pilot's failure to maintain directional control of the airplane, the fence, and the tree line.

Full narrative available

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