On October 24, 1997, about 1551 eastern daylight time, N8371H, a Piper PA-34-220T, was substantially damaged when it landed hard during the initial takeoff climb at the Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, the pilot stated:

"...No specific trip was planned...Engine run up was through for mags & feathering also checked flight control for freedom of movement and correctness but did not check trim position...Cleared by tower...for takeoff on runway 33...As I tried to pull nose up, as plane accelerated, it was difficult, finally got airplane off the ground, but could not hold it there (off). N8371 returned to ground and porpoised two or three times, landing gear broke off and collapsed and airplane skidded to a stop 100 feet beyond the intersection of runway 33 and 24

A witness stated:

"...[the accident airplane] proceeded down the runway in a normal manner to accelerate to take-off speed. At or about the 3,000 ft runway marker the aircraft rotated its self and only came up approx. 25 - 50 ft, it then slammed its self into the rwy approx. 3-4 times bouncing violently onto rwy surface. During the 3rd or 4th bounce the aircraft's undercarriage glowed bright orange for 5 sec w/ [with] white clouds of smoke coming from under fuselage. The aircraft then proceeded down the rwy for approx. another 1,000 ft before coming to a rest on its belly during the 1,000 ft roll...."

An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported the examination of the airplane revealed the nose and right main landing gears had collapsed. Both the left and right wing spars and the fuselage were buckled.

In a follow-up telephone interview, the pilot reported that the accident flight was the first flight following an annual inspection. After the airplane had come to rest, he did check the elevator trim and found it in the full nose down position. Additionally, when the airplane started to porpoise, he had not retarded the power immediately.

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