On August 22, 1998, at 1945 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M-20C, N6532U, was substantially damaged after a loss of control during takeoff from runway 28 at the Kentmorr Airport (3W3), Kent Island, Maryland. The airplane came to rest submerged in the Chesapeake Bay. The certificated commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at 3W3, at 1945. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot was interviewed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Inspector by telephone on two occasions. The Inspector documented each conversation in a Record of Telephone call. The pilot said:

"I took off towards the Bay. I used a soft field take off technique procedure. I used all the available runway. I provided back elevator pressure, then applied full power. I then checked that the engine was developing full power by looking at the instruments. When the airplane broke ground, approximately before the end of the runway, I can't tell exactly where, but it was before the end of the runway. At that point, the airplane seemed to settle into the water."

The pilot said he was beyond the point where he could safely abort the takeoff when he "...determined there was something wrong..." and ditched the airplane in the water.

When questioned about the airplane's configuration and power output, the pilot stated the flaps were set in the takeoff position (15 degrees), and that the engine RPM was "...just under red line."

A witness who resides near the departure end of runway 28 provided a statement to the FAA Inspector. He said:

"It sounded like he did a run-up all right...Everything seemed all right. The nose came up. He was in a soft field attitude. The tail was way down, actually dragging the ground. When he passed by our house, he was committed to go. He dragged the tail to the gravel road. He just went right off the end."

The witness identified ground scars near the shore where the undercarriage of N6532U had contacted the ground. According to the Inspector:

"The strobe light from the underside of the Mooney was found approximately 12 feet from the shore's edge."

The airplane was recovered from the Chesapeake Bay on August 25,1998. The recovery was supervised by the FAA Inspector and no further damage was sustained by N6532U. Examination of the airplane by the Inspector revealed no pre-impact anomalies and the flaps and flap indicator in the fully retracted position. Control continuity was established to all flight control surfaces except the left aileron, which was damaged by impact. Movement of the flight controls revealed the "..left aileron rod moved fully and freely."

The pilot's most recent medical certificate was issued on June 30, 1998. On that date the pilot reported he had 310 hours of flight experience. The pilot submitted his NTSB Pilot/Operator report approximately 13 months after the accident. In the report, the pilot stated he had 550 hours of flight experience.

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