On July 14, 1995, at 2220 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28- 160, N5040W, collided with trees during takeoff from Crest Airpark, Kent, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial pilot and his three passengers were not injured. The flight was destined for Portland, Oregon.

The pilot reported that he estimated the weight of the passengers and their baggage and determined the weight was three pounds below maximum gross weight, and near the aft edge of the C.G. envelope. The pilot did a run-up before takeoff on runway 15 and stated that everything was normal. The pilot stated that he normally rotates the airplane at 60 mph, however, during the takeoff ground roll, he waited until the ground speed was 70 mph before rotation. Rotation occurred after using approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of the runway.

After rotation, the pilot held the airplane in ground effect until the airspeed increased to 80 mph. During the climb out, the pilot stated that the airplane felt "sluggish" and as the airplane attained an altitude of approximately 60 feet, the airspeed decreased to 75 mph. The pilot lowered the nose of the airplane to try and regain airspeed, and then raise the nose to gain altitude. Each time the pilot increased the angle of attack, the stall light would illuminate. The pilot stated that he was aware of rising terrain and obstructions that he could not see and after the landing gear collided with tree tops, the pilot opted to reduce power and land in the small trees off the south end of the runway.

The pilot stated that there were no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane at the time of the accident.

The current weight and balance worksheet for this airplane indicates a gross weight of 2,200 pounds and a useful load of 954 pounds. Written calculations provided by the pilot indicate that at the time of the accident the airplane's gross weight was 2,199 pounds with a useful load of 953 pounds. The center of gravity was within the envelope at 92.58 inches aft of the datum. (See attached weight and balance worksheet, pilot calculations and C.G. weight and range chart).

All weights are estimates provided by the pilot. The fuel quantity could not be confirmed due to fuel tank rupture. The passengers reported their body weights, but did not want to confirm their weights on a scale, and the baggage had been removed prior to the Federal Aviation Administration Inspector's arrival at the accident site.

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