NTSB Identification: ERA10LA377
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 24, 2010 in Waynesboro, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/16/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N3480E
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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 departure he calculated the weight, balance, and density altitude for his departure airport. Using the reported temperature of 40 degrees Celsius, he determined the takeoff roll would be 1,500 feet by referencing the airplane's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH). The departure runway was annotated in the airport directory as being 2,009 feet long and in poor condition. The pilot planned to use the grass overrun area of the runway to extend the departure roll by about 400 feet.

The pilot completed an engine run-up and noted no anomalies. He extended the flaps to 10 degrees for a short-field takeoff and taxied into position for takeoff. With the brakes set, he increased the throttle to full power and leaned the mixture in an effort to gain better performance. When the tachometer indicated 2,400 rpm, he released the brakes and started the takeoff roll. Initial acceleration was slow, but once the airplane reached the paved runway the airplane accelerated normally. The airplane lifted off the runway and remained in ground effect. The pilot turned to the left to avoid trees, flew under power lines, and made a forced landing to a field where the airplane collided with a fence.

The airport manager, who observed the takeoff, stated that the pilot forced the airplane into the air, and it wallowed left to right barely flying. He opined that the airplane never flew out of ground effect.

According to the POH, "...normal and short field takeoffs are performed with flaps up. Use of 10 degree flaps is reserved for takeoff from soft or rough fields. Use of 10 degree flaps allows safe use of approximately 5 KIAS lower takeoff speeds than with flaps up. The lower speeds result in shortening takeoff distances up to approximately 10 percent. However, this advantage is lost if flaps up speeds are used, or in high altitude takeoffs at maximum weight where climb performance would be marginal with 10 degree flaps. Therefore, use of 10 degree flaps is not recommended for takeoff over an obstacle at high altitude in hot weather..."

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

The pilot's failure to follow the short-field takeoff procedures published in the Pilot's Operating Handbook.

Full narrative available

Index for Jul2010 | Index of months