On July 10, 2005, about 1730 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N9233J, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees during the initial climb after takeoff from Elyria Airport, Elyria, Ohio. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured, and a passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for Plymouth, Michigan. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that he conducted a pre-flight inspection and engine run-up, prior to departing from runway 9, a 3,053-foot-long, 48-foot-wide, asphalt runway. The takeoff was conducted with 10-degrees of flaps and the airplane accelerated and lifted off normally. The airplane was about 200 to 300 feet above the ground, when the pilot "felt" a loss of engine power. The airplane began to sink, and subsequently impacted trees.

The airplane came to rest in a wooded area, about 600 feet northeast of the departure end of the runway.

Post accident examination of the airplane conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions. Both wing fuel tanks were compromised during the accident; however, approximately 4 ounces of fuel was drained from the carburetor. The fuel was "bright" and absent of visible contamination.

Review of airplane's maintenance records revealed the most recent annual inspection was performed during December 2004. The airplane had been operated for 3 hours since the inspection, and a total of about 50 hours during the 3 years prior to the inspection.

The pilot reported 225 hours of total flight experience, which included about 57 hours accumulated in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

Winds reported at an airport located about 4 miles west of the accident site, at 1753, were from 20 degrees, at 7 knots. The pilot stated that the airport wind sock indicated that the winds were light and variable at the time of the takeoff.

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