On September 6, 1997, at 1800 central daylight time, a Piper PA- 22, N9228D, flown by a commercial pilot collided with a sunflower crop and nosed over following a loss of engine power on takeoff from a farm field in Shields, Kansas. The airplane was being operated under 14 CFR Part 91 on a ferry flight to Topeka, Kansas, where it was to have an annual inspection, with an intermediate stop a Dighton, Kansas for fuel. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions existed and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that upon reaching an altitude of 150 - 200 feet after taking off on a freshly mowed farm field, the engine lost power. He stated that he applied a second notch of flaps and landed the airplane straight ahead in a field containing 8 foot high sunflowers. He reported the landing was very smooth and after about 55 feet of ground run, the nose gear collapsed and the airplane gently nosed over.

The pilot reported that the airplane's last annual inspection was in 1989. The airplane had not been flown; however, the owner would start the airplane every month until he passed away about three years prior to the accident. The accident pilot stated that he then ran the airplane every two or three months up until a year prior to the accident. The airplane had been hangared for about the last year.

The pilot reported that he and two mechanics worked on the airplane for approximately six hours prior to the accident. He stated they flushed the fuel system, put in fresh fuel, and ran the airplane up three times prior to the takeoff. It ran good all three times.

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