On April 19, 2002, at 1218 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32RT-300T, N3034A, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during an in-flight collision with the terrain following a loss of control while on initial climb after takeoff. The airplane had departed runway 36 (4,000 feet by 75 feet, dry/asphalt) at the Porter County Airport (VPZ), Valparaiso, Indiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The pilot and his passenger sustained serious injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and had the intended destination of the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Detroit, Michigan.

According to the pilot's written statement, the takeoff and initial climb were normal until approximately 300 feet above ground level when the airplane encountered "severe turbulence, causing left turn and loss of lift." The pilot stated the engine was producing "full power" when the airplane impacted the terrain.

A weather observation station, located at VPZ, recorded the weather around the time of the accident as:

Observation Time: 1220 cdt
Wind: 020 degrees magnetic at 12 knots, Gusts 17 knots
Visibility: 10 statute miles
Sky Condition: Sky Clear
Temperature: 16 degrees Celsius
Dew Point: 09 degrees Celsius
Pressure: 30.03 inches of mercury

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