On July 18, 2000, at 1915 Eastern Daylight Time, a Beech 55 (T42A), N26DS, was substantially damaged during an aborted takeoff from Runway 23 at the Chesapeake Municipal Airport (CPK), Chesapeake, Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was "...pilot proficiency and to fly an airplane that had been sitting in a hanger for over a month." The pilot said he performed a thorough preflight inspection and performed all before takeoff checks by the checklist. He said the right engine flooded and was difficult to start, but that both engines were operating "completely within normal limits" when he taxied to the runway for takeoff. According to the pilot:

"Took the runway. Stopped on the centerline (to prevent fuel from sloshing) and added power until [I] could no longer hold with brakes and then released brakes. Continued on centerline and at 87 mph eased the nose gear off runway. I noticed that I was not flying and accelerating as usual and at the same time the plane was easing to the right side of the runway. I sensed that something was not right, as I should have been flying at this position of the runway. I looked down the runway and decided I had enough room to abort the takeoff. I closed both throttles and eased the yoke forward. Apparently, I was several feet in the air. When the nose gear impacted the runway [it] sheared off..."

The pilot said the airplane bounced back to an altitude of 15 to 20 feet, landed on the right main gear, struck a runway light, and skidded to a stop. He said he turned the magneto switch and the fuel selector to the 'Off' position before he departed the airplane.

A Federal Aviation Administration operations inspector interviewed the pilot by telephone on the day of the accident. According to the inspector's record of conversation, the pilot described the accident, the damage to the airplane, and stated that he "blew the landing."

A flight instructor and his student witnessed the accident. According to the flight instructor:

"My student and I had just landed and were securing our plane. The Baron was on his takeoff roll, lifted off, and both my student and I heard it making an odd noise almost as if he lost power. He was about 10 feet off the ground [and] the plane nosed over and hit the nose wheel first. It gave right away, then the nose cone hit. The mains struck and buckled as the plane was sliding to the right of the runway... It sounded as if he lost an engine and pulled power to me."

According to the student pilot:

"A multi-engine prop plane crashed on take off at CPK. It rotated and got up about 10 feet when I heard a dramatic decrease in RPM. The nose wheel hit first and buckled. The nose and props hit and the main wheels twisted... I watched the plane cause it did not sound right as it lifted off the ground."

The airplane was examined at the scene by two FAA aviation safety inspectors. In a written statement, the operations inspector stated:

"Both propellers were curled back with repetitive abrasions progressing from the tip towards the hub. Fuel was present in the auxiliary tanks on both sides. Fuel was present in the left main tank, however the quantity could not be determined. The right main tank was empty due to rupture of the tank on impact. The aircraft had sustained substantial damage."

"Inspection of the runway revealed a skid mark beginning approximately 2,700 feet from the departure end of runway 23, continuing for an additional 600 feet, gradually bearing right to the location where the aircraft came to rest on the edge of the runway. Propeller strike marks in the asphalt (7 for each propeller) commenced shortly after the skid marks begin. The aircraft came to rest on a runway light. A large area (10 foot diameter) of dead grass was evidence of a fuel spill."

The pilot reported 5,559 hours of total flight experience, of which 4,300 hours were in multi-engine airplanes. He reported 300 hours of experience in make and model. The pilot said he purchased the airplane on April 15, 2000, and had flown it 27.9 hours since that date. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that the last flight he logged prior to the accident was in the accident airplane on June 4, 2000, and was 1.2 hours in duration.

The right engine was examined under the supervision of an FAA airworthiness inspector on August 4, 2000. According to the inspector's report:

"Except for the propeller, the engine appeared to be in overall good condition, with no visible external damage. The oil level was approximately 2 [quarts] below the full mark, which is normal. The oil appeared to have been changed recently.

"Next, the propeller was removed, to allow easier access and propeller rotation. The oil screen was then removed, and found clean and free of contamination. Both ignition systems tested OK, with a strong spark to each plug. The spark plugs were undamaged, new, and had a normal appearance.

"The engine turned freely, by hand. All cylinders produced good thumb compression. The fuel distribution manifold was removed, disassembled and inspected, and found containing a clean screen and fresh aviation gasoline, with no signs of contamination. The engine controls were checked for free travel, from stop to stop, with no discrepancies noted.

According to the Beech 55 Pilot's Operating Handbook, lift off speed for the airplane was 84 knots/97 miles-per-hour.

In a follow-up conversation, the pilot confirmed that his lift off speed was 87 miles-per-hour. He said that due to the engine conversion performance upgrade, the performance parameters were different from the airplane manufacturer's published numbers.

During a telephone conversation, the test pilot for the engine conversion manufacturer stated that the placarded performance figures for the airplane remained the same. He said, "...you just get there a whole lot quicker."

Interpolation of the ACCELERATE - STOP DISTANCE Chart in the Beech 55 Pilot's Operating Handbook revealed that the Accelerate - Stop distance for the airplane on the day of the accident was about 3,500 feet.

Runway 23 at the Chesapeake Municipal Airport was 4,200 long and 50 feet wide.

The winds reported at the Norfolk International Airport, 15 miles northeast of CPK were from 040 degrees at 5 knots.

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