On July 19, 2000, approximately 1045 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 310D, N674FT, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees shortly after takeoff from Stevens Field, Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The airline transport pilot and one passenger were seriously injured, and three passengers received minor injuries. The pilot was operating the airplane under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that was originating at the time of the accident. An IFR flight plan had been filed.

The pilot said that he fully fueled the airplane (133 gallons), and then loaded his passengers and baggage (total estimated weight of 4,800 pounds; aircraft maximum gross weight is 4,830 pounds). He started the engines and taxied to a run-up apron located 2,000 feet from the approach end of runway 19. The pilot said that he was "in a rush to takeoff." After performing his pre-takeoff checklist, including engine run-up, he back-taxied on runway 19 an additional estimated 1,000 feet, and turned the airplane around for departure. He said that he configured the airplane for a zero flap takeoff. The pilot then applied power, and started his takeoff roll down the remaining estimated 7,500 feet of the 8,500 foot runway.

The pilot said that the takeoff ground roll "seemed too long," but he felt that he had insufficient runway to abort the takeoff. He said that he continued the takeoff, and got airborne with an indicated airspeed of 100 miles per hour (mph). The pilot said, "the airplane would not climb or accelerate." He raised the landing gear and "tried to maintain speed and altitude." He started a "slow" left hand turn, with 5 to 10 degrees of bank, "finding a way over or through the Ponderosa pines to a suitable landing site." The pilot said he remembered, "seeing 55 mph on the airspeed indicator, and the right wing and nose dropping." He estimated that he was 30 to 50 feet above the ground, and "then the airplane dropped from there." Subsequently, the airplane impacted trees, both wings were destroyed, and the fuselage was wrinkled.

The weather conditions at Stevens Field (elevation 7,700 feet) were reported by the airport manager to be: wind calm; visibility 50 statute miles; clear of clouds; temperature 84 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 30.31 inches of mercury; density altitude 10,810 feet.

The pilot said that the airplane was equipped with vortex generators that would have lowered the stall speed an estimated 4 to 6 knots (no flaps with landing gear retracted, stall speed estimated to be 78 to 80 mph). He also said that the airplane had been flying approximately 10 mph slower in cruise flight during the previous 6 to 8 weeks. A representative of the airplane's manufacturer said that the airplane Owner's Manual indicates that the airplane should be able to takeoff with a ground roll of 2,698 feet with a 15-degree flaps setting and 84 degrees Fahrenheit (there is no chart available to compute zero flap takeoffs). Two pilots that have flown the Cessna 310D airplane said that, during the landing gear retraction cycle, the rate of climb would be reduced by 50 to 100 fpm.

Postaccident examination, by a NTSB investigator, of the left engine revealed that the #2 cylinder had no thumb compression. Further examination revealed that the top and face of the #2 exhaust valve had two rust colored burn patterns opposite each other.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page