On June 9, 2002, about 0635 Pacific daylight time, a Bellanca 17-30A, N8249R, made a hard landing on a taxiway at Fallon, Nevada. The owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot sustained minor injuries, one passenger sustained serious injuries, and one passenger was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal cross-country flight departed Fallon about 0630, en route to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated that the winds were light and variable and favored departure on runway 03. Start, taxi, run-up, and takeoff were not remarkable.

According to the pilot, his usual procedure during the initial climb was to raise the flaps from the takeoff setting. After he did this, he usually felt the airplane settle. After he raised the flaps on this takeoff, the airplane did not seem to climb. He lowered the nose to gain airspeed; however, due to his proximity to the ground, he had to raise the nose again to reestablish a climb. He repeated the cycle of raising and lowering the nose as he turned back to the airfield. The stall warning horn was sounding during this sequence. As he decided that an approach to runway 3 was not possible, the pilot turned the airplane to cross about midfield. The airplane touched down hard on the taxiway, continued through a median, crossed over the runway, and came to rest in the sand.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the pilot departed with full fuel and that it was at or near gross weight.

A witness, a professional pilot, reported that the engine was at high rpm.

The Safety Board investigator-in-charge calculated the density altitude using a computer program at 4,647 feet mean sea level (msl).

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