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On August 12, 2000, at 0920 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172H, N1749F, collided with trees and the ground during an attempted takeoff from runway 31 at Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Georgia. The personal flight was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and his two passengers were fatally injured. The flight initially departed Peachtree City, Georgia, at 0915.
According to the operator, after takeoff, the pilot remained in the traffic pattern and conducted touch-and-go landings to runway 31. Reportedly, the pilot had completed the first landing and was on climb out when the accident occurred. Witnesses near the accident site reported that during the initial climb, the airplane appeared not to gain altitude. Another witness reported the pilot radioed his intention to turn left onto crosswind. As the airplane continued the left turn, a witness stated the left turn bank increased to a point where the left wing was almost perpendicular to the ground. The same witness also stated the airplane appeared to have stalled, which was then followed by the abrupt drop of the nose. The airplane disappeared below the tree tops, and collided with the ground.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, and instrument ratings. His total flight time was 300 hours and the approximate flying time in the Cessna 172 was 150 hours. The pilot held a current third class medical certificate, dated August 25, 1998, valid with no limitations or waivers.
The Cessna 172H, N1749F, was owned by Griffin Flight School of Griffin, Georgia. The airplane was operated by William B. Senft, of Atlanta, Georgia. N1749F was a high-wing single-engine airplane powered by a Continental Motors O-300-D engine. A review of the airplane maintenance logbooks showed the last annual inspection was preformed on August 8, 2000.
Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Georgia, 1053 weather observation reported sky clear, visibility 10 miles, wind calm.
Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Georgia has one runway: 31/13. At the time of the accident, runway 31 was in use. Runway 31 is 5,220 feet long. The terrain elevation in the vicinity of the accident site is above the level of the runway 31. Falcon Field is an uncontrolled airport and the field elevation is 808 ft.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site disclosed that wreckage debris was scattered in the immediate vicinity of the airplane. The airplane rested in a nose down attitude approximately 300 yards southwest of the end of runway 31.
The on-site examination of the airplane showed that, the engine and nose section was displaced aft into the cabin area. Both wing assemblies sustained chordwise crush damage aft to the wing forward spars. One propeller blade was bent with scratches. The left door was separated from the fuselage.
Examination of the airplane revealed the flap actuator was functioning properly. The examination also revealed both trailing edge wing flaps were set at 40 degrees.
The overall examination of the engine assembly did not reveal a mechanical malfunction or subsystem component failure.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by Dr. Podjaski at the office of County Medical Examiner in Decatur, Georgia. The Forensic toxicology was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Okalahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were negative for drugs and alcohol. Atropine and Lidocaine were detected in the blood and liver. These drugs are commonly used during resuscitation. According to the operator, resuscitation was attempted, on site by Emergency Medical personnel.
According to witnesses, the airplane appeared to stall on takeoff. The airplane impacted the ground in a nose low attitude. The tail section of the empennage was broken at the bulkhead of the airframe.
The maximum gross weight of the airplane is 2300 pounds. The basic empty weight is 1400 pounds. The pilot weighed 264 pounds, the front male passenger weighed approximately 251 pounds, and the rear female passenger weighed approximately 120 pounds. The fuel tanks were full, and had approximately 42 gallons, or 252 pounds.
According to the Cessna 172 checklist for normal takeoff states, "Wing flaps - 0 degrees." The wing flaps were found set to 40 degrees at the accident site.
The airplane wreckage was released to Donald Donegan of Peachtree Flight Center, Vice President, Peachtree City, Georgia.