ATL97LA065
ATL97LA065

On April 29, 1997, at 1300 eastern daylight time a Piper PA-28-180, N4979L, collided with the ground while attempting an emergency landing to an open field near Halzelhurst, Georgia. The personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The non certificated pilot and passenger/pilot were seriously injured. The flight departed a private sod airstrip in Hazelhurst, Georgia, at 1259.

According to the airport manager at Douglas Municipal Airport, the pilot had planned the flight to Hazelhurst Airport for refueling before returning to Douglas Municipal Airport. The passenger/pilot stated that they had about ten minutes of ground operation before the non-certificated pilot attempted the takeoff. During the ground operation the pilot completed a runup, but the passenger was not sure of the complete extent of the carburetor heat check. The passenger/pilot also recalled that the pilot had placed the fuel selector on the right fuel tank before starting the takeoff roll. The passenger/pilot seated in the right front seat stated that, as the airplane climbed through 400 feet, the engine suddenly quit. The non-certificated pilot selected an open field and attempted a forced landing. The airplane touched down in a freshly plowed field about 100 yards left of the departure end of the runway 27.

During the examination of the airplane, approximately eight gallons of fuel were recovered from the right fuel tank; no fuel was recovered from the left fuel tank. No mechanical problems were discovered during the wreckage examination. According the aircraft owner's handbook, "carburetor heat should also be checked prior to take-off to be sure that the control is operating properly and to clear any ice which may have formed during taxiing." A review of weather data disclosed that conditions were favorable for the formation of carburetor ice. A review of the pilot's certification data revealed that the non certificated pilots last medical examination was August 22, 1988. According to Title 14 CFR Part 61.83, the eligibility requirement for the student certificate includes at least a third class medical certificate in accordance with Part 67. The non certificated pilot s last medical expired two years after it was issued.

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