On August 21, 1999, at 1100 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180 single-engine airplane, N8981J, registered to and operated by private individuals, was substantially damaged during takeoff from the Parker County Airport near Weatherford, Texas. The private pilot sustained minor injuries and his sole passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot fueled the aircraft before takeoff with a total of 50 gallons of fuel. The pilot taxied to the run-up area and started the pre-takeoff checklist. He reported that while performing the magneto check, he noticed a "300 rpm drop on both mags." To correct this, the pilot stated he "ran the rpm up to 2000 and leaned the mixture for approximately one minute." He performed a magneto check again, which resulted in a "75 rpm drop on both sides."

The pilot then initiated a takeoff from runway 17 during which "everything seemed normal." The pilot reported that during the initial takeoff climb, the engine "quit." The airplane was approximately 50 feet agl when it began to settle to the ground. The pilot lowered the nose in order to "gain speed", and realized he had only approximately 50 to 100 feet of runway left. As the airplane neared some trees, he "pulled up" to clear them; however, the airplane impacted the trees. Subsequently, the airplane came to a stop upright against a retaining wall.

Examination of the airplane wreckage by the FAA inspector revealed that the leading edges of both wings were damaged, and the outboard one-foot of the left wing was partially separated. The fuselage sustained substantial structural damage. A fuel sample was observed to be clear and free of contamination. A witness reported to an FAA inspector that the airplane's engine was running rough prior to takeoff.

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