NTSB Identification: SEA08FA187
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 20, 2008 in Springerville, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N5316L
Injuries: 2 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.

Witnesses reported that after landing at the airport, the pilot and passenger borrowed a courtesy car and drove to a local grocery store. The two returned to the airport a short time later and loaded an unspecified amount of grocery items, which included multiple cases of beer, into the airplane. The pilot and passenger returned to town via the courtesy car to pick up additional grocery items. The pilot arrived back at the airport, topped off the fuel tanks, and taxied to the runway. Witnesses stated that the first attempted takeoff was aborted. The pilot taxied back to the parking area and indicated that he had a flat tire. Inspection of the tires by the pilot revealed that they were not flat. The pilot taxied the airplane back to the runway for takeoff. During the second takeoff, the witnesses observed the airplane "porpoise" during the takeoff roll; however, it became airborne about midfield. A witness stated that shortly after liftoff the airplane appeared to be flying "sideways" when it suddenly rolled to the right, pitched to a nose-low attitude, and impacted terrain. The non-towered airport is located at an elevation of 7,055 feet. Using the reported temperature and altimeter setting, the density altitude was calculated at approximately 9,476 feet. The approved "Airplane Flight Manual" for the accident airplane does not contain information detailing and outlining specific altitude performance parameters. A majority of the combustible materials associated with the airplane and its contents was consumed by postcrash fire. A comprehensive weight and balance for the airplane could not be determined. Examination of the airframe, engine and propeller assembly revealed no evidence of a preimpact failure or anomaly.

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

The pilot's failure to attain and maintain an adequate airspeed during takeoff in high density altitude conditions that resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Full narrative available

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