NTSB Identification: LAX07CA165.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 12, 2007 in Moab, UT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N8598N
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane descended into a river during the initial climb from a private airstrip. During the departure roll, the airplane's landing gear followed contours in the soft, uneven terrain that made up the dirt strip. The airplane accelerated slowly and the pilot realized that he would be unable to abort the takeoff, as brush and low trees were located adjacent to the end of the runway surface. The airplane became airborne and remained in ground effect. The pilot maneuvered the airplane in a right turn to avoid the brush and proceed toward the lower terrain near the river. The pilot physically detected a stall buffet and lowered the nose in an effort to arrest the imminent stall. The airplane descended into the river, coming to rest in shallow water adjacent to a sand bar. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine. He estimated the density altitude was at least 7,000 feet.

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

The pilot's failure to obtain and maintain an adequate airspeed that resulted in a stall/mush. Also causal was the pilot's failure to abort the takeoff in a timely way. A factor in the accident was the high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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