On July 19, 1997, at 1530 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-180, N4530J, was substantially damaged when it collided with rough terrain during the takeoff roll at the Katama Airpark Airport, Edgartown, Massachusetts. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Edgartown, Massachusetts. An instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed, but not activated. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot was taking off on runway 24, a rough, uneven, turf runway, when the airplane veered off the left side of the runway onto rough terrain and collided with shrubs. He said that he lifted the nosewheel on the takeoff roll to protect it from the rough runway, but a crosswind from the left caught the airplane. As the airplane began to drift to the right, he corrected with left rudder and left main wheel brake, but the nosewheel came down at an angle to the left, and the airplane veered off the left side.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, examination of the ground scars at the accident site revealed the airplane was aligned with the intended takeoff direction for about 528 feet, and then veered off the left side of the runway for 776 feet, before it came to rest. The FAA Inspector said there was a substantial dip in the turf runway, about the point where the airplane veered off the left side.

The pilot reported that there was no mechanical malfunction with the airplane or the engine. The reported winds at the time of the accident were from 270 degrees at 16 knots with wind gusts to 23 knots.

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