On July 15, 2000, at 1530 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 152, N67603, collided with the airport perimeter fence and nosed over during an aborted takeoff from runway 31L at the Reid-Hillview Airport, San Jose, California. The airplane, operated by Interwings Corp., and rented by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91, sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the personal cross-country flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. The flight was scheduled to stop in Sacramento and Napa, California, with a return to the Reid-Hillview airport. No flight plan was filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In the pilot's written statement to the Safety Board, he stated that the purpose of the cross-country flight was to build up flight time for his commercial certificate. Prior to the flight he performed a weight and balance for the airplane, and noted that the center of gravity was within the manufacturer's specified limits. The pilot stated, "everything was normal" with the preflight and run-up. On the takeoff roll he waited until the airplane had reached 60 knots before he rotated because he had a heavy passenger onboard and wanted to make sure he had enough airspeed for the climb out. After the airplane lifted off the runway, the pilot pulled back on the yoke, but the airplane settled back on the runway. The pilot continued the takeoff and kept the airplane on the ground until the airspeed reached 65 knots. The airplane lifted off the runway and stayed in ground effect and did not climb.
The pilot decided at that point to land; however, there was no remaining runway left. He made an attempt to return to land on runway 13R due to houses located off the departure end of the runway. He stated that the airplane did not have the altitude and struck the airport perimeter fence. He stated that he heard the stall warning horn as the airplane collided with the fence. The pilot stated there were no discrepancies with the engine power output; the airplane was just not gaining altitude.
A witness to the accident stated that he heard a power reduction during takeoff and observed the airplane in takeoff configuration, but not gaining altitude. After the airplane crossed over the departure end of the runway it was still at a low altitude. He saw the pilot attempt to land straight ahead and then make a left turn to land on runway 13R. The witness stated that the airplane was in a steep bank and low altitude and thought he saw the left wing of the airplane strike the ground. The airplane leveled off and landed in a field. It impacted a ditch and nosed over onto the airport perimeter fence that separates the airport from the Donald J. Meyer Elementary School.