On November 22, 1994, at 0720 Pacific standard time, a Cessna T210H, N2221R, operated by the pilot, collided with terrain during an initial climb from a private airstrip about 5 miles east of Mount Hamilton, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the business flight, and no flight plan was filed. The private pilot and three passengers received minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

On November 22, 1994, the National Transportation Safety Board interviewed the pilot via telephone. The pilot reported that the accident airplane had been parked overnight at the airstrip. The pilot stated that he did not have a ladder, and the airplane was not equipped with fuselage foot steps. However, during the preflight inspection, he did observe an accumulation of frost on the front windshield. So, prior to taking off, he scraped some of it off to enhance his visibility. The pilot further reported that during the ground engine run and ground roll portion of the takeoff, all of the gauges which he observed indicated that normal engine operation was being achieved. No backfiring or sputtering sounds were detected. According to the pilot, seconds prior to the crash, the engine was continuing to produce 29 inches of manifold pressure.

The pilot stated that the airplane stopped climbing after reaching a maximum altitude between 100 and 200 feet above ground level. The engine then seemed to lose power. The airplane stalled and collided with terrain adjacent to the western side of the airstrip. The pilot estimated that when he commenced the takeoff the outside air temperature was between 30 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

The wreckage was examined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) coordinator who responded to the accident site. Fuel was observed in the airplane's fuel tanks. The coordinator reported finding the engine's propeller blades impact damaged, and they had been torsionally bent. The FAA coordinator also reported that a resident of the area had indicated to him that, during the morning hours of November 22, frost was observable on the ground and the temperature was estimated at 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the pilot's completed "Aircraft Accident Report," NTSB Form 6120.1, he reported that during his preflight inspection, "there was ice buildup on the windshield," and " . . . no noticeable ice on the flaps, horizontal stabilizer or on the fuselage . . . . " During the takeoff roll, "there was no ice formation on the windshield or anything unusual at that time."

The pilot provided the following additional chronology of events regarding the start of the accident flight: "I held the aircraft on the ground for until (sic) I reached about 80 MPH and then I rotated. I established a normal rate of climb. At the time of rotation the windshield began to glaze over and by the time I had climbed to approximately 100 feet AGL my forward visibility was about zero. I raised the nose for a few seconds in order to be sure to clear the obstacles that I knew were at the end of the runway. There was no stall warning nor did the aircraft attitude seem to be too high to me. At this time the engine seemed as if it were only performing at approximately sixty (60%) of its power capability."

According to the FAA coordinator, one of the passengers reported that the engine sound did not change from the time full power was applied, at the beginning of the takeoff, until ground impact. Also, the airplane's takeoff seemed normal until reaching an altitude of approximately 100 feet when he felt the airplane was sinking from under him. The passenger reported that he observed frost on the exposed upper surfaces of the aircraft in addition to the front and rear windshields prior to takeoff.

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