FTW96LA404
FTW96LA404

On September 30, 1996, at 0930 mountain daylight time, a Republic RC-3, N6103K, registered to and operated by a private owner under Title 14 CFR Part 91, crashed during takeoff at Santa Fe County Municipal Airport, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a VFR flight plan was filed. The airline transport rated pilot/owner was not injured and the pilot rated passenger received serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the flight was originating at the time of the accident.

During telephone interviews, conducted by the investigator-in-charge the pilot/owner and the pilot rated passenger reported the following information. The pilot/owner purchased the airplane in New York and flew with the pilot rated passenger/flight instructor for 18 hours prior to beginning the ferry flight to California. En route the flight stopped at Chicago for refueling. Other obligations diverted the owner and he agreed for the flight instructor to continue ferrying the airplane and they would meet at Santa Fe. The airline transport rated pilot/flight instructor ferried the airplane to Topeka, Kansas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. On the morning of the accident the pilots were departing Santa Fe with a planned fuel stop at Holbrook, Arizona, and a final destination of Discovery Bay, California. The owner stated that he was the pilot-in-command (PIC) during the takeoff from Santa Fe. En route he was going to receive flight instruction from the pilot rated passenger/flight instructor toward his airplane single engine seaplane rating. The flight control column attaches at the right side of the cockpit instrument panel with a horizontal column extending to the left side of the cockpit where the control yoke is attached. The PIC reported a takeoff weight of 2,800 pounds with a planned performance climb of 290 fpm.

The pilot/owner further stated that during the takeoff on runway 2, the airplane was flown over the runway with full power to an airspeed of 80 mph. The gear was retracted at about 30 to 50 feet above the runway and as the airplane approached the departure end of the runway, the airplane encountered a "windshear, the airspeed decreased to 60 mph (stall speed 58 mph) and the airplane would not climb." Observing power lines ahead of the airplane, the pilot flew the airplane under the lines and struck the terrain with the gear retracted. Damage was reported to the hull and wings. The pilot reported the winds from the north at 9 to 11 knots and the pilot rated passenger reported the winds from 020 degrees at 18 knots.

The investigator-in-charge reviewed the Albuquerque Flight Service Station (AFSS) pilot weather briefing for the VFR flight from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Holbrook, Arizona, with continuing legs to Winslow, Arizona, and Henderson, Nevada. The briefer reported a high pressure area and high cirrus along the planned route with no significant weather forecasted or reported. Santa Fe was reporting clear skies with 40 miles visibility and winds from the north at 8 knots. The pilot inquired about density altitude along the route for the noon hour and was informed that the temperature forecast through northern Arizona was 77 degrees Fahrenheit and Las Vegas, Nevada, 94 degrees Fahrenheit; however, the exact time for reaching those temperatures was not known.

On March 3, 1997, the passenger rated pilot, submitted the additional information. The aircraft "climbed out of ground effect with an indicated airspeed of around 70 mph." He noticed "turbulent airflow over the wings" and told the pilot that "he was getting slow and not to stall the aircraft." The pilot released the "back pressure on the yoke to recover from the impending stall, but there wasn't sufficient altitude to recover level flight."

On the enclosed statements witnesses reported observing the airplane. One witness observed the airplane trying to rotate and the wings "flaring back and forth several times." Witnesses observed the airplane in ground effect, approximately 15 to 20 feet off the runway, not climbing, and in a high angle of attack as it proceeded down the runway. The airplane was observed loosing altitude from approximately 50 feet to 10 feet AGL. The airplane cleared the departure end of the runway and was described as "sort of wobbling down with a tail low attitude." One of the witnesses, who responded to the scene, reported that the airplane went between 2 poles, hit a fence, crossed a road, and came to rest as it struck the back of a parked truck.

The FAA inspector who examined the airplane, calculated the takeoff weight at the maximum allowable gross weight of 3,150 pounds. The density altitude at Santa Fe was calculated as 7,600 feet by the investigator-in-charge.

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