LAX04LA191
LAX04LA191

On April 8, 2004, at 0916 mountain standard time, a North American Navion, N91729, collided with terrain while departing from the Page Municipal Airport, Page, Arizona. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules flight plan had been filed. The personal cross-country flight was originating from Page, with a planned destination of Grand Canyon National Park Airport, Grand Canyon, Arizona.

In a written a statement, the pilot reported that prior to departure, he calculated the weight and balance of the airplane to be within the airplane's limits, by weighing persons and baggage. He received weather information from the Automated Surface Observation Station, which reported winds light and variable. He opted to depart from runway 33, and, after an uneventful run-up, he leaned the engine in an effort to compensate for the density altitude. During the takeoff roll, the pilot began rotation about 65 miles per hour (mph).

The pilot further stated that the airplane climbed to about 50 feet above ground level, at which point the engine experienced a reduction of power. With the throttle in the full power position, the airspeed decreased below 60 mph, and the pilot lowered the airplane's nose in an effort to regain speed. The pilot opted to abort the takeoff, and the airplane touched down at the end of the runway. The airplane continued off the runway onto loose dirt. After decelerating for about 150 yards, the pilot maneuvered the airplane to the left in an effort to avoid a steep drop-off in terrain. The airplane turned and came to rest in a nose down position.

During a telephone interview with a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, a Federal Aviation Administration maintenance inspector, who examined the airplane after the accident, reported that he ran the engine at Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona. He stated that the engine operated normally during the run-up. He did note that the bracket holding the airbox cable was broken, allowing the cable to loosely hang. When he activated the alternate air in the cockpit he noted about 100 rpm drop in engine power. He could not ascertain if the broken bracket was a result of the impact.

In a telephone conversation with a Safety Board investigator, a certified flight instructor at Page Municipal Airport reported that while performing a run-up, he witnessed the Navion attempt to takeoff. He stated that the airplane departed ground effect with about 8 to 12 degrees pitch attitude and stalled. The airplane returned back into ground effect, and the pilot attempted to regain speed for about 1,000 feet of runway. The airplane again rotated out of ground effect, and subsequently stalled. The airplane returned to ground effect and, again, the pilot attempted to regain speed. As the airplane was approaching a cliff, it lifted out of ground effect and banked to the right. The left wing appeared to stall, and the airplane impacted terrain in a nose low attitude.

A routine aviation weather report (METAR) for Page was issued at 0856. It reported a temperature of 12 degrees Celsius and an altimeter setting of 29.97 inHg. Based upon the atmospheric conditions provided by the METAR, a Safety Board computer program calculated the density altitude to be 4,896 feet. The Airport/ Facility Directory, Southwest U. S., indicates that Page Municipal Airport runway 33 is 5,499 feet long and 150 feet wide.

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