FTW98LA105
FTW98LA105

On January 23, 1998, at 1800 central standard time, a Cessna 140A airplane, N377V, was substantially damaged following a loss of control during initial takeoff climb from an airstrip near Justin, Texas. The commercial pilot and his passenger were not injured. The airplane was owned and operated by two private individuals under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight for which no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Denton, Texas, at 1745.

The pilot stated that after departing Denton with his passenger, they headed over to the passenger's 1,500 foot private airstrip located approximately 6 miles northeast of the Alliance Airport. After circling the airstrip and observing the winds, the pilot elected to execute the approach to the north. After an uneventful landing, the pilot taxied back to the south end of the airstrip to prepare for a takeoff to the north.

In a telephone interview conducted by the IIC, the pilot added that due to recent rains, the ground on the north-south grass airstrip was "soggy and mushy;" however, he did not think his airplane would have any problems clearing the marked 4 foot tall barbed wire fence at the departure end of the airstrip. The pilot added that the tailwheel equipped airplane had been modified by the installation of a 100 horsepower Continental O-200 series engine.

The non-rated passenger, who was seated in the left seat, stated that "the tail wheel came up at the midpoint of the airstrip." The pilot further stated that the airplane became airborne with a little less than 1/3 of the runway remaining. During initial climb, the main landing gear struck the top of the 4 strand barbed wire fence. The ensuing deceleration from the impact with the fence resulted in the airplane touching down on a muddy plowed field just north of the airstrip boundary. The pilot stated that he was initially able to keep directional and pitch control as the airplane rolled for approximately 40 yards. The main landing gear tires sank in to the soft ground until the airplane nosed over and came to rest in the inverted position. The pilot added that the winds were light and variable at the time of the accident.

Examination of the airplane by the FAA inspector revealed that the right horizontal stabilizer and engine mounts were damaged. The right wing strut and the vertical stabilizer sustained structural damage.

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