ANC97LA030
ANC97LA030

On February 26, 1997, about 1500 Alaska standard time, a wheel equipped Piper PA-32-300, N32979, collided with terrain during an aborted takeoff from a private airstrip, about 3 miles northwest of Dillingham, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country flight under Title 14 CFR Part 135 when the accident occurred. The airplane, operated by Shannon's Air Taxi, Dillingham, sustained substantial damage. The certificated airline transport pilot and 6 passengers, were not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. VFR company flight following procedures were in effect.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector, Anchorage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), reported the pilot was departing a private airstrip know as Shannon's Pond. The airstrip is 2,400 feet long at an elevation of 80 feet mean sea level and is oriented on a 110/290 degree magnetic heading. The pilot indicated he was departing runway 29. Wet snow covered the runway and snow was falling at the time. During the takeoff run, the pilot decided the airplane was not accelerating sufficiently and aborted the takeoff. The airplane slid off the end of the runway and collided with terrain. The nose gear and the propeller were bent aft.

The pilot initially reported the accident to the FAA, as an incident. On March 4, 1997, at 1315, the FAA inspector notified the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), that additional investigation revealed engine mount and airframe firewall damage. The FAA reported that the pilot was departing under special VFR conditions.

In the pilot/operator report submitted by the pilot, he reported slushy snow, about 1 1/2 inches deep, on the surface of the runway. The pilot indicated he attempted to depart on runway 11 but aborted the takeoff. The wind condition was reported by the pilot as from the southwest at 15 knots. The pilot then attempted to depart on runway 29. He indicated about 1/2 down the runway, the airspeed was about 5 knots below takeoff speed. He elected to continue the takeoff but the airspeed then dropped to 55 knots and the airplane departed the end of the runway without ever lifting off.

The closest official weather observation station is Dillingham, Alaska. On February 26, 1997, at 1450, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting in part: Wind, 160 degrees (true) at 11 knots; visibility, 2 statute miles in light rain and snow; clouds, 500 feet overcast; temperature, 32 degrees F; dew point, 30 degrees F; altimeter, 29.77 inHg.

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