On August 2, 2002, approximately 1400 central daylight time, a Piper Tri-Pacer (PA22-135), N3522A, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it failed to clear a tree line immediately after departing runway 5 (3,100 feet x 70 feet, turf) at the Wag-Aero Airport (WI92), Lyons, Wisconsin. The flight was originating from WI92 with an intended destination of Grand Geneva Resort Airport (C02), Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, approximately 5 miles to the southwest. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot reported sustaining minor injuries.

In his written statement, the pilot noted: I "kept [the] plane on [the] ground until 55 knots and then rotated. [The] takeoff roll was very rough. [The] plane rose normally one-half way up the hill, flew in ground effect until top of hill, gaining speed. Reached top of hill, [the] plane kept climbing until [the] tree tops. [It] would not go up any longer, stopped climbing. [It] acted like [a] loss of power, but [the] engine sounded normal. ... Aware of my lack of ascent, I had to choose the safest place to bring the plane down."

Further, the pilot stated that he made extensive use of carburetor heat prior to takeoff "because I have had an experience with carb icing in the past." In an interview, he noted that he had removed carburetor heat prior to takeoff.

The FAA inspector on-scene noted that the runway has an uphill gradient with a crest at the northeast end. He noted that fuel was present in the airplane and that no evidence of fuel contamination was found.

Under FAA supervision, the airplane was removed to the Wittman Regional Airport (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) where the engine was run in an attempt to verify operation. The as-recovered engine was tested without modification, with the exception that fuel was supplied by the test stand. (The wings were removed for transportation.) The engine ran without any anomalies, according to the FAA inspector present.

The PA22-135 airplane involved in the accident had accumulated 10 hours since its most recent annual inspection, completed on April 15, 2002, and 3,627 hours total time, as reported by the pilot. The engine had accumulated 575 hours since overhaul.

FAA records indicate the pilot holds a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating, and a third class medical certificate issued July 2001. The pilot reported 517 hours total time, with 6 hours flown within the last 90 days. He noted that his most recent flight review was completed on December 2, 2000.

The pilot reported weather conditions at the scene as clear skies, variable winds at approximately 6 knots, a temperature of 80ºF, and light turbulence. The Kenosha Regional Airport ASOS, located 20 nm southeast (105º magnetic), at 1353 cdt, reported clear skies, wind from 080º at 11 knots, and a temperature of 79ºF.

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