NTSB Identification: ERA11FA348
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 18, 2011 in Guntersville, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N1803T
Injuries: 3 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

Several witnesses reported observing the airplane become airborne about two-thirds of the way down the departure runway. It then pitched up to a nose-high attitude of at least 20 degrees, leveled off about 40 feet above ground level, pitched up again to about the same pitch attitude, and subsequently descended behind a tree line with a high sink rate. Another witness reported seeing the airplane come over the tree line behind his residence and impact the ground in a nose-low attitude. A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The witness observations are consistent with the pilot attempting to climb at too steep a pitch angle, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. According to calculations, the airplane’s weight was about 110 pounds over the maximum allowable takeoff weight, which would have resulted in reduced climb performance.

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

The pilot's excessive pitch attitude, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall during the takeoff initial climb. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to comply with weight and balance limitations.

Full narrative available

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