IAD97LA124
IAD97LA124

On September 27, 1997, about 1830 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N6308W, was destroyed as it collided with trees during take off from John's Landing, a private grass strip near Zanesville, Ohio. The certificated private pilot/owner was not injured, and the passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot told the State Highway Patrol that he and his passenger departed from the Heath Airport, Newark, Ohio, about 1630. They landed at John's Landing for the antique/classic fly-in, at 1645. After staying for about an hour, the pilot reported that he completed a preflight check of the airplane for the return flight.

The pilot completed the engine run-up, the takeoff checklist, and set one notch (10 degrees) of flaps, and then, applied full power. The pilot recalled that he rotated at 65 knots, and that "the airplane lifted off fine." With trees at the end of the runway approaching, the pilot reported that "the airplane suddenly felt like it needed help, the control yoke felt sloppy and the stall warning light came on." The airplane's airspeed dropped to 60 knots, and the pilot noted that "the lift was getting worse." The pilot remarked that "if he lowered the nose of the airplane to accelerate, that he could not have cleared the trees at the end of the runway."

The pilot reported that he knew the airplane was stalling, so he told the passenger that they were going into the trees. Spotting an opening in the trees that he thought the fuselage could go through, the pilot recalled that "he fully stalled the airplane." The airplane settled into the trees, impacted the ground, and a post crash fire erupted. The pilot and passenger exited the airplane prior to it being engulfed in flames. The pilot reported he never lost engine power, and that he had no prior experience taking off from this 2,000 foot grass strip.

The pilot reported the elevation of the departure grass strip was 1,000 feet msl, and the outside temperature was about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the Owner's Handbook, an Altitude Conversation Chart depicted that these conditions equaled a density altitude of about 2,000 feet. When the 2,000 feet was applied to the Take-off Distance Vs. Density Altitude chart, it revealed a take off distance of 2,000 feet was required to clear a 50 foot obstacle.

The Owner's Handbook also stated:

"Short field, Obstacle Clearance: Lower the flaps to 25 degrees (second notch), accelerate to 55-60 miles per hour and ease back on the control wheel to rotate. After breaking ground, accelerate to the best angle of climb speed, 74 miles per hour. Slowly retract the flaps when the obstacle has been cleared and continue climb at 85 miles per hour."

"Soft field, Obstacle Clearance: Lower the flaps to 25 degrees (second notch), accelerate aircraft, pull nose gear off as soon as possible and lift off at lowest possible airspeed. Accelerate just above the ground to best angle of climb speed, 74 miles per hour to climb past obstacle clearance height, continue climb while accelerating to best rate of climb speed, 85 miles per hour and slowly retract the flaps."

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