On September 20, 1994, about 1850 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N2815T, owned and pilot by Lawrence R. Rosage, was destroyed when it struck trees during initial climb after takeoff from the Garrett County Airport, Oakland, Maryland. The pilot and two passengers received minor injuries, while a third passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
All four occupants of the airplane were rated pilots and were planning to attend an aviation safety meeting in Morgantown, West Virginia. In the NTSB 6120.1/2, the pilot stated that after he conducted a preflight, he took fuel samples and found no contaminates. He further stated:
"...Engine start up was normal and both magnetos were running smoothly. The wind indicator showed a westerly direction so a departure on runway 26 was made. The plane climbed normally to a height of approximately 40 to 50 feet and slowly stopped climbing. It slowly sank. Full power was still in and the engine was running smoothly. The plane settled into a stand of tall pine trees directly in line with the runway. At no time did a stall or even an approach to a stall occur...I flew the airplane to the ground with the power I had available...."
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector interviewed the pilot and passengers and summarized their statements. In the pilot's summarized statements, Mr. Rosage stated that he rotated at 80 knots with 10 degrees of flaps set, and retracted the landing gear. The engine was developing good power, but after the airplane climbed to 30 to 40 feet, it hesitated and started to descend into the trees. He stated that the winds were calm, the fuel tanks were full, and he had checked the weight and balance before the flight.
In the summarized statement of one passenger, Mr. John Burnside, he stated the engine did not reach full RPM before the takeoff roll was initiated. He felt at one point the airplane was moving slow, and the pilot might abort the takeoff; however, the takeoff was continued and the airplane lift-off occurred near the end of the runway. He further stated that it did not feel like the airplane was climbing properly when it settled into the trees.
In a telephone conversation with the FAA Inspector, he stated that during his on scene investigation he determined that the airplane takeoff roll used about 2800 feet of the runway. He also stated that during the airplane's descent through the trees the propeller cut several 6 inch diameter pine trees.
The Garrett County Airport Field elevation is 2,933 feet. Runway 26 is 3,000 feet long, asphalt surfaced, with a 0.5% up slope to the west. The computed density altitude for the takeoff conditions was approximately 4,500 feet.
The maximum takeoff gross weight for N2815T was 2,650 pounds (lbs). The airplane weight computed as follows:
Airplane empty weight plus oil 1,652 lbs. Fuel (48 gallons useable minus run-up) 276 Baggage 40 Rosage (Pilot) 203 Vitez (Passenger) 257 Burnside (Passenger) 180 Yommer (Passenger) 220 ===== Total takeoff gross weight 2,828 lbs.
According to the Piper Pilot's Operating Manual (POM), there are four flap position settings; up, 10, 25, and 40 degrees. The takeoff performance charts in the POM provide takeoff distances over 50 foot obstacles based on full power before brake release, a maximum gross weight of 2,650 lbs., zero wind, a density altitude, and flaps set to 25 degrees.