On February 20, 1997, about 1430 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172M, N9987V, collided with the ground during takeoff from the Hernando County Airport, Brooksville, Florida. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. A flight plan was not filed for the instructional flight. The airline transport pilot certified flight instructor (CFI) had serious injuries, and the private pilot dual student received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Origination of the flight was St. Petersburg, Florida, at 1330.

According to the pilot in command, his student had completed a series of commercial maneuvers and was planning to complete a number of takeoffs and landings. The CFI and his student made one "successful landing", and they taxied back for a maximum performance takeoff. The aircraft was equipped with a Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) kit. As they started their takeoff roll, "the windsock was about half erect with a direction approximately 30 degrees off the right side of the nose". The CFI commented the flaps were correctly set for the maximum performance takeoff, the nose rotated properly, and the airplane began to climb. At approximately 30 feet above the ground, "the aircraft began to mush", and the CFI took the controls. Although he added full power, the airplane continued to descend and slowly turn to the left. The airplane struck the ground slightly nose down with very little bank. The stall warning horn never sounded, according to the CFI.

The airplane lifted off at approximately 35 knots, according to the CFI. The power on stall speed in this airplane is 35 knots. The CFI also noted a wind decrease or shift would affect the STOL performance.

According to a local witness, the airplane was observed doing maximum performance takeoffs. During the accident takeoff, according to the witness, the airplane assumed a very nose high attitude, stalled, and drifted left over the adjacent grass area in a strong crosswind. Just before ground impact, the nose of the airplane pulled up. The airplane collided with the ground nose wheel first, breaking off the nose wheel, then nosed over.

The rescue personnel that arrived on the scene said the airplane was found nosed over on the north side of the runway. It was approximately 1400 feet east of the approach end of runway 9 and 250 feet north of the edge of the pavement. Within the airplane, all of the engine controls were in the full forward position. According to a sheriff on the scene, the wind was blowing from the south when they arrived.

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