On March 5, 2003, about 1420 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-161, N81549, owned by CJR Aviation Inc., and operated by an individual, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight, impacted with a private home while taking off from a private grass airstrip, in Lake Placid, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged. The commercial-rated instructor pilot (CFI), and student pilot reported no injuries. There were no reported injuries to anyone on the ground. The flight was originating at the time.

According to the CFI they planned to perform a short field takeoff, to the west, from the 2,000-foot private grass strip. The student was on the controls, for the takeoff, and one notch of flaps was used. At full power the student "held back pressure on the yoke the airplane, the main gear "lifted off" the ground, the airplane "achieved ground effect," but would not climb. At this point the nose of the airplane was "nose high and my student then passed the controls to me." The CFI stated, "...I then vocalized to my student I had control of the airplane...I lowered the nose...waited to build the airplane's airspeed to 63 KIAS...once I achieved 63 KIAS I then applied back pressure on the yoke to start a climb. As applied back pressure on the yoke the airplane's airspeed reduced rapidly." The CFI then applied forward pressure on the yoke, to once again an airspeed of 63 KIAS, and tried to climb, but said he had the same "results, the airspeed dissipated rapidly...there seemed to be some sort of thrust or power shortage causing the airplane not to climb." The airplane cleared a 3-foot fence, and impacted with a house at the end of the runway. On the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot-in command answered "NO" in the block marked "Mechanical Malfunction Failure."

In the student pilot's statement he said after the airplane lifted off and "...flew into ground effect, the "stall horn sounded," and the CFI "pitched the nose over and the horn stopped." The CFI then "...pitched the nose up and the stall horn sound again...I then [the CFI] pull the controls all the way back. The nose fell over and we impacted a house." In addition, he said, "...observed temperature and pressure gauge in green...tachometer at 2,600 RPM."

According to the FAA inspector's statement, his investigation revealed that on takeoff from a "short/soft takeoff," the aircraft lifted off the runway into "ground effect, and did not build flying speed to climb out of ground effect and crashed into a house at the end of the runway." The Pilot and Student Pilot stated the aircraft "...was developing full power, but would not climb out of ground effect." Other witness' stated that the "...aircraft appeared to be developing full power, but [the] aircraft had a very high nose pitch attitude."

On May 14, 2003, a test run was performed on the engine from N81549, in the presence of the NTSB investigator-in-charge, at the Facilities of Certified Engines Inc., Opa Locka, Florida. The engine was run at 800 rpm at idle and 2,660 rpm at full power. No discrepancies were noted during the engine run.

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