On April 13, 2001, at 1525 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-161, N3573S, operated by Culver Educational Foundation, was substantially damaged during an aborted takeoff when it veered off runway 16 (2,400 feet by 65 feet, asphalt) and contacted trees. The commercial Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and student pilot were not injured. The 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight was departing Fleet Field (IN73), Culver, Indiana, on a local flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The CFI reported the winds were light and variable. He reported the airplane performed normally during run-up and takeoff roll. The airplane rotation was initiated at 60 KIAS and the airplane climbed to 5 feet before settling back onto the runway. The CFI took control of the airplane and aborted the takeoff. The CFI reported he applied maximum braking, but "... was unable to stop. To avoid running off a cliff and into a swamp near the end of the runway, I veered to the left side where the aircraft contacted trees. There were no injuries to myself or the student and we were able to promptly evacuate the aircraft."

At 1453, the observed weather at Goshen (GSH), Indiana, located 34 miles northeast of Culver, Indiana, was: winds 260 at 7 knots, 10 miles visibility, sky clear, 13 degrees C, dew point 2 degrees C, and altimeter 30.12.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness inspector did an on-site investigation. He reported that he ran the engine and it was able to produce full power. He reported there was a swamp and tall trees at the end of runway 16. He reported the operator advised that the fuel tanks be filled to the "tabs" when departing runway 16. The fuel tanks had been topped off on the accident flight.

The FAA publication P-8740-23 stated the following information concerning takeoffs:

"Tail Wind: Conversely, a tail wind will increase your takeoff distance as the aircraft will take longer to accelerate to its takeoff speed. Remember though, your airspeed indicator will, in both cases, read the same indicated airspeed.

Ground Effect

When flying close to the ground, drag is reduced due to the restricted air flow patterns around the wing ... the so called "ground effect." This makes it possible to lift off at too high a pitch angle, or too soon with a heavy load."

The FAA publication Flight Training Handbook, AC 61-21A, stated the following information concerning takeoffs:

"The airplane may be allowed to fly off the ground while in this normal takeoff attitude. Forcing it into the air by applying excessive back pressure would only result in an excessively high pitch attitude and may delay the takeoff. As discussed earlier, excessive and rapid changes in pitch attitude result in proportionate changes in the effects of torque, thus making the airplane more difficult to control.

Although the airplane can be forced into the air, this is considered an unsafe practice and must be avoided under normal circumstances. If the airplane is forced to leave the ground by using too much back pressure before adequate flying speed is attained, the wing's angle of attack may be excessive, causing the airplane to settle back to the runway or even to stall."

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