NTSB Identification: CEN12LA308
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 20, 2012 in Frankenmuth, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/15/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N4595T
Injuries: 3 Minor,1 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 engine performed normally during a pre-takeoff engine run-up, and the pilot selected 25 degrees of flaps for the short-field/soft-field takeoff procedure. The airplane lifted off in the first half of the runway and stayed in ground effect until the best rate of climb airspeed was achieved. The engine operated normally during this period. The pilot reported that, a few seconds after the airplane departed ground effect, he noticed that the airplane was not climbing as “strongly,” which was followed by a “dramatic” decrease in the airplane’s rate of climb. The pilot retracted the flaps and noticed that the engine power decreased to 2,000 rpm at which time the left wing began to stall. He banked the airplane to the left toward a wheat field to avoid the powerlines and trees ahead. The airplane began a rapid descent. The airplane impacted the terrain, cartwheeled, and came to rest inverted. A postaccident examination of the engine did not reveal any mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have resulted in a loss of engine power. The airplane was about 71 pounds under gross weight. The airport field elevation was 645 feet, and the density altitude was about 1,930 feet. A possibility of carburetor icing existed at glide and cruise power. However, the engine was operating at a high power setting for takeoff, indicating that carburetor ice was likely not the reason for the loss of engine power.

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

A partial loss of engine power for undetermined reasons and the pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Full narrative available

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