NTSB Identification: ERA09CA405
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, July 14, 2009 in Blacksburg, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/29/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N7418W
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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.

During the takeoff roll, at about rotation speed, the pilot reported that the nose wheel of the airplane began to "shimmy back and forth," and that the nose wheel "darted strongly to the left." The pilot attempted to regain control using "back pressure on the yoke and control with rudder." The airplane ran off the runway impacting a hill located past the parallel taxiway. The airplane incurred substantial damage to the fuselage, stabilator, and left wing. Personnel at the fixed base operator where the pilot purchased fuel prior to the accident reported that the airplane exhibited a nose-high attitude as it taxied in for fueling. At the time of the accident, the airplane was carrying 48 gallons of fuel, 2 passengers, and baggage. The pilot reported that the accident could have been prevented if the front strut had "not been fully extended", and if she had reduced engine power while trying to regain control of the airplane. Post-accident inspection by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector found no evidence of mechanical malfunction. Reported winds at the time of the accident were from 340 degrees at 4 knots.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the takeoff roll.

Full narrative available

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