On September 7, 1998, at 1026 hours Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N8772N, collided with the ground in a field 1 1/2 miles west of the Truckee, California, airport during the takeoff initial climb. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. The private pilot/owner and passenger, the sole occupants, suffered minor injuries. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to the Troutdale, Oregon, airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that he took off on runway 28 and noticed that the takeoff roll was longer than usual. The stall light came on after takeoff and the aircraft was not gaining speed or altitude. As he got over the trees, the aircraft performance began decreasing further, so he decided to turn left to head back toward the airport and avoid the populated area. He reported that he had not tried to lean the mixture, and he had taken off with twice the amount of fuel needed to fly to his next fuel stop. The aircraft began to stall and he nosed the plane into the ground to avoid hitting power lines and other nearby structures. He estimated that his speed on impact was about 50 mph.

The temperature at the time of the accident was reported as 63 degrees and the dew point was 61 degrees. The pilot reported that he had not attempted to use carburetor heat. He further reported that he had not experienced any mechanical malfunctions with the aircraft prior to the accident.

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