On January 27, 1998, about 1100 eastern standard time, a Cessna 177, N30192, owned by the student pilot collided with trees shortly after takeoff at the New Port Richey Airport, New Port Richey, Florida. The airplane was operated by the certified flight instructor for the purpose of dual instruction under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the flight instructor, he and the student pilot studied the pilot operating handbook prior to departing. He taxied to the 2700 foot long runway, and started the takeoff roll. Although the rotation speed was 60 miles per hour (mph), the instructor stated he felt that was too slow, so he held the nose on the ground until he reached 67 to 70 mph. The airplane rotated smoothly and began a climb. According to the instructor, at 80 to 100 feet, he saw a decrease in engine RPM and the airplane felt "mushy", so he leveled off to accelerate. At this point, he was above the trees. According to the pilot, the airplane did not appear to accelerate and was holding altitude. The pilot stated the airplane then began to sink and would not accelerate further. The pilot stated he then made a shallow left turn to avoid a building in their path. The airplane stuck in the tops of the trees, and the pilot and student had to climb down to exit the airplane.

According to the student, he and the instructor did a thorough preflight and completed the checklist. The instructor was flying as they accelerated down the runway. The student stated he was verbally calling out the airspeed. At 65 to 68 mph, the instructor rotated and climbed to 100 feet above the ground (AGL). According to the student, the engine seemed smooth, but they "settled with power" into the trees.

One witness stated the airplane was making unsteady up and down movements prior to the crash.

Subsequent to the accident, the engine was examined by Textron Lycoming and the FAA. According to the report, the engine test run was acceptable and did not produce any pre-crash discrepancies which would indicate the engine was not producing power prior to the accident.

According to the Icing Probability Curve chart, using the reported temperature and dew point, the conditions were favorable for the formation of visible induction icing at rated power.

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