NTSB Identification: ERA10CA090
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 02, 2009 in Patillas, PR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/06/2010
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration: N2539K
Injuries: 2 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.

According to the pilot, he conducted a preflight inspection before taking off from the paved, 2,000-foot runway. The takeoff was "normal," but the airplane's climb rate was "not enough to clear trees" at the end of the runway. According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the airplane lifted off about 1,500 feet down the runway. The airplane's right wing subsequently hit a tree located to the right of the runway and sustained substantial damage. The inspector also reported no mechanical anomalies and confirmed compression on all engine cylinders. Photographs of the tree indicated that it was about 50 feet beyond and 50 feet to the right of the runway. Straight out and to the left of runway provided a relatively clear pathway. Using the ambient weather conditions, including a 6-knot headwind, the only takeoff performance data available in the pilot's operating handbook indicated that the airplane's takeoff distance to clear a 50-foot obstacle should have been approximately 1,450 feet.

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

The pilot's inadequate visual lookout and failure to maintain clearance from a tree.

Full narrative available

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