LAX95LA244
LAX95LA244

On July 9, 1995, at 1035 hours Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-38-112, N2529A, sustained substantial damage after striking utility lines during takeoff at Rubidoux, California. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot and was on a local flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. Neither the private pilot nor his passenger was injured. The flight originated from the Flabob airport at 1034 on the day of the accident.

The pilot reported that after liftoff from runway 24, the aircraft rate of climb leveled off when he reached approximately 50 feet agl. He stated that in spite of his continued efforts to maintain a climb airspeed and attitude, the aircraft eventually struck overhead utility lines situated on rising terrain about 1.5 miles from the departure end of the runway. The downed utility lines ignited a grass fire.

The pilot also stated that although he was able to maintain about 63 knots (IAS), he was unwilling to turn back toward the airport since he believed any attempted turns at that airspeed would have resulted in a stall/spin.

FAA inspectors stated that the pilot did not know the empty weight of the aircraft and had not computed an aircraft weight and balance. It was also unknown how many gallons of fuel were onboard at the time of departure. The pilot stated that he weighed 180 pounds and that his passenger weighed between 210 and 220 pounds. The Riverside County Deputy Sheriff, who had responded to the scene, reported that the pilot told him "I was over gross weight and couldn't climb."

The Riverside weather observation did not include temperature as part of the 1046 weather observation; however, the Ontario weather observation included 86 degrees as the current temperature at 1046. Density altitude based on the Ontario temperature and corrected for the Riverside non-standard pressure was 3,670 feet. Winds were reported from 270 degrees at 5 knots.

The inspector said the tires of the tricycle gear aircraft appeared underinflated.

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