MIA94LA209
MIA94LA209

On September 11, 1994, about 1808 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32-301, N8056P, registered to Patrick Air Force Base Aero Club, crashed when directional control was lost during takeoff from St. Lucie County International Airport, Fort Pierce, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 pleasure flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The aircraft received substantial damage. The airline transport-rated pilot and three passengers were not injured. Two passengers received minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated the active runway was 9 but on taxi out the tower offered runway 32. He knew this would give a right quartering wind and elected to use runway 32. During takeoff the aircraft began to drift to the left. Attempts to control the drift were unsuccessful. He elected to continue the takeoff and lifted off close to lift off speed. The aircraft continued to veer to the left after liftoff and departed off the side of the runway. The aircraft then settled and touched down to the ground. The aircraft contacted a drainage ditch and then came to rest on a paved parking ramp.

A witness reported the aircraft appeared to be tail heavy. During the takeoff roll the aircraft had a nose-high attitude and the tail dragged and bounced on the runway. The aircraft became airborne and remained in ground effect. The aircraft veered to the left, departed the runway, crossed a taxiway, collided with a ditch, and crashed nose first on the parking ramp, where it came to rest. The engine appeared to operate at full power during the entire takeoff.

Postcrash calculation of the weight and balance condition at the time of the accident was performed by the chief pilot for the Patrick AFB Flying Club. The aircraft weighed 3,395 pounds and the center of gravity was at 94.42 inches aft of the datum. The maximum weight for the aircraft is 3,600 pounds and the aft center of gravity limit is 95.0 inches aft of the datum.

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