On May 23, 2002, at 1930 eastern daylight time, a Stearman A75N1, N5545F, registered to and owned by the pilot, collided with runway 18 shortly after takeoff from Wakulla County Airport in Panacea, Florida. The pleasure flight was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airline transport pilot and his passenger received no injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The flight departed Panacea, Florida, at 1928.

According to the pilot, no abnormalities were noted during preflight inspection or engine run up. The pilot taxied the airplane onto the runway 18 and initiated a normal takeoff. All engine instruments were in the normal operating range, and the airplane rotated less than halfway down the 2785-foot long runway. When the airplane was approximately 100 feet above the ground, the engine began to lose power and subsequently quit. The pilot elected to attempt a landing on the remaining runway. The airplane collided with the runway in a 35- to 40-degree nose-down attitude.

Examination of the airplane revealed the landing gear had sheared off and the wheels had pushed through the wings. In addition, damage had occurred to the lower left wing, both propellers, the lower left side spar, and the firewall. Examination of the fuel system revealed that when the fuel shutoff valve was turned to off position, the valve assembly closed completely. When the fuel shutoff valve was opened, the valve opened halfway, while indicating completely open.

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