On July 31, 2002, at approximately 1615 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N5088K, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during take-off from Fort Collins Downtown Airport (3V5), Fort Collins Colorado. The student pilot, the sole occupant on board, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for this local solo flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the student pilot, he had finished practicing several soft field take offs and landings with an instructor and this was his first solo flight of the day. He taxied to the end of runway 11, "pulled the yoke back all the way, and added full power." Following rotation, the "nose came straight up and the plane was in a 45-degree incline." The airplane climbed to approximately 20 feet and stalled. The airplane drifted off to the right of the runway, struck the ground with its left wing tip, bounced up and then it struck the ground a second time. The ground impact collapsed and sheered off the nose landing gear, buckled the firewall, and bent the outboard 4 feet of the right wing spar.

The instructor, who was watching the take off from the ramp, stated that the nose of the airplane came up "as expected" but did not stop coming up, and the airplane "very quickly left the ground." When the nose was "at about 15 to 20 feet in the air, the plane veered to the right and then to the left in about a 90 degree left turn." After the accident occurred, the instructor examined the airplane and checked the trim and flap settings. He verified that they were "set for the correct positions for soft field takeoff."

At the time of the accident, the weather conditions were: wind, 150 degrees at 5 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; temperature, 99 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point, 34 degrees Fahrenheit; and the altimeter setting was, 29.95. The airfield elevation is 4,939 feet msl, and the calculated density altitude was 8,682 feet msl.

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