FTW94LA171
FTW94LA171

On May 21, 1994, at 2015 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N9687W, was substantially damaged during takeoff near Pottsboro, Texas. The private pilot was not injured, while his two passengers sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight.

The pilot reported manually positioning the airplane against the Grandpappy Point airstrip perimeter fence to take advantage of all the available runway for the takeoff roll. He added that during the takeoff ground run, the airplane did not attain sufficient airspeed to lift off, so he aborted the takeoff, and elected to intentionally veer to the left to avoid colliding with the trees at the departure end of the strip. He further reported that the right wing was sheared off after impacting a tree, and the airplane came to rest on its side.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the 1,500 foot sod airstrip had only 1,100 feet available for landing and takeoff. He stated that the pilot used one notch of flaps (10 degrees) instead of the two notches (25 degrees) recommended by the airplane manufacturer for a short field takeoff.

According to the aircraft operator's manual, 1,700 feet was required to clear a 50 foot obstacle at sea level. Density altitude was estimated at 2,000 feet.

The FAA inspector further stated that evidence was found at the airstrip showing that the pilot elected to abort the takeoff at a point 1,397 feet from the point the brakes were released during the takeoff roll.

Both passengers submitted detailed statements. They both stated that the purpose of the flight was to attend a social event/barbecue held at a gazebo adjacent to the landing strip. The event was attended by many of the pilot's friends, and the passengers stated that the pilot was "showing off" his pilot skills by landing in such a small strip.

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