LAX00LA166
LAX00LA166

On April 21, 2000, at 1100 hours Pacific daylight time, a Pzl-Mielec M-18A, N62587, collided with a fence during takeoff from a private agricultural airstrip near Williams, California. According to the pilot, the collision was precipitated by a momentary loss of engine power just after liftoff. The aircraft was operated by Charter Aviation of Williams under 14 CFR Part 137, and was engaged in aerial application operations. The aircraft incurred substantial damage. The certificated commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the occurrence. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

In a statement to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors, the pilot said he had been using a 2,300-foot-long gravel airstrip near fields to be sprayed as a staging area for the day's aerial application flights. He completed one application operation and landed to refuel and reload chemicals. The pilot said that the fueling and loading of the chemicals was accomplished with the engine running at idle power. Just after the wheels left the ground during the takeoff, the engine sputtered and momentarily lost power. As the airplane descended back to the runway, the engine power came back. According to the pilot, the airplane was then too fast to stop on the remaining runway and too low to miss a fence at the runway's end. The landing gear contacted the fence and the airplane cart wheeled into a field.

An FAA inspector examined the airplane. The radial engine is of Polish manufacture and closely resembles a Pratt and Whitney R1860. The inspector noted that the engine and many of the accessories were impact damaged, and the engine could not be run. He reported that no obvious discrepancies were observed. In addition, he noted that the records indicated that the engine was near the TBO limit.

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