On July 3, 1995, at 1617 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-28- 140, N55365, was substantially damaged during a forced landing at Colorado Springs, Colorado. One passenger received minor injuries, but the private pilot and another passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The following is based on the pilot/operator report and information received from airport officials. The pilot took off from runway 35L and climbed to an altitude of 200 feet. The pilot said that when he was about 500 feet from the end of the runway, he encountered what he described as a "wind shear" (he told airport officials it was a "downdraft"). The pilot attempted to land in a field but the descent rate forced him into a gravel pit and the airplane collided with terrain.

At the time of the accident, the wind at Colorado Springs Municipal Airport was from 230 degrees at 19 knots, with gusts to 26 knots. Density altitude was computed to be 8,164 feet MSL (above mean sea level). According to the "Rate of Climb vs. Density Altitude" performance chart, the airplane will climb between 350 (2,150 pounds gross weight) and 430 (1,950 pounds gross weight) feet per minute. The weight of N55365 was estimated to be greater than 1,950 pounds but less than 2,150 pounds.

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