NTSB Identification: DEN08LA129
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 26, 2008 in Athens, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/2009
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N6257E
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 Minor.

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 stated that prior to the accident flight, he told the fixed based operator that the airplane was "slightly off in performance" and the engine had a "tendency" to "build up carbon." On the day of the accident, the pilot fueled the airplane, and after thorough preflight and engine run-up checks that did not disclose any anomalies, he initiated the accident takeoff. The pilot stated that during the climb, there seemed to be a lack of engine power. A witness stated that the airplane "seemed to accelerate very slowly, however the engine sounded fine." The witness also stated that the airplane "continued to try to climb without much luck." The airplane started to descend, and the pilot stated that he attempted to maintain altitude. The pilot further stated that the engine power continued to decrease, and the stall horn sounded just above the tree tops. He attempted to "get the nose up" to expose the belly of the airplane to the obstacles ahead. The airplane impacted the trees and came to rest upright about one-half mile southwest of the airport. It was substantially damaged during the impact sequence. Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions. The engine was started by investigators without hesitation and ran for several minutes. Maintenance records indicated that a "top overhaul" was conducted on the engine about 2 years prior to the accident, and that the last recorded annual inspection was about 10 years prior to the accident. The pilot did not hold a pilot certificate or current medical certificate.

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

A partial loss of engine power during initial climb due to undetermined reasons, which led to an uncontrolled descent and subsequent aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's improper preflight decision to attempt the flight with a suspected engine problem.

Full narrative available

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