DEN99LA132
DEN99LA132

On July 31, 1999, approximately 0820 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N7521W, was substantially damaged when it collided with objects and terrain during takeoff from Sandia Airpark Estates East, Edgewood, New Mexico. The private pilot and one passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local area personal flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he was departing runway 27 with the intention of performing touch and go landings. During takeoff, he rotated the airplane at a speed of 65 miles per hour (mph), the normal rotation speed in a PA-28. He looked outside of the cockpit and noticed that he was only 15 feet above the runway. He checked the airspeed indicator, and it indicted 65 mph. He stated that "upon leveling the nose of the airplane, the plane hit the runway and my head hit the forward panel dazing me. I felt the second impact and as the plane hit the runway a second time and do not remember anything else about the accident."

According to one witness, he observed the aircraft's departure and noted that the airplane rotated approximately 2,000 feet down the runway. He stated that "the nose came up very fast and very high." He estimated the nose to be pitched up at an angle of 15 to 20 degrees, and the tail to be between 8 inches to 1 foot above the runway. He stated that the airplane appeared to rotate so quickly that he thought the tail was going to strike the runway. Another witness observed the airplane during departure "in an unusually nose-high attitude for takeoff."

Another witness who was waiting to depart runway 27 stated that at the time, the winds were out of the west at several knots. He noted that the airplane "seemed to take longer than usual... to build up speed." When it was approximately mid-field down the runway, he observed the aircraft "in an extreme nose-high attitude with the main wheels still on the ground." The airplane veered to the north side of the runway, then realigned with the runway, and then drifted right again. He stated that the aircraft appeared to remain in a nose high attitude throughout the attempted takeoff, and never gave an indication that the takeoff was going to be aborted. He saw the aircraft impact several landing lights off the north side of the runway, and it continued westward in a nose-high attitude until striking a dirt berm at the west end of the runway. It then struck a barb-wire fence and briefly became airborne. He stated that the airplane arched 10 to 12 feet into the air and then fell nose-low to the ground.

At the time of the accident, the pilot had flown a total of 2.1 hours within the past 90 days and 4.5 hours within the past 180 days, all of which was performed in the Piper PA-28. He had accumulated a total of 4.5 hours of flight time in make and model of the accident aircraft. Given the existing weather conditions at Albuquerque, located 22 nm to the west, density altitude at the time of the accident was calculated to be 8,891 feet.

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