On July 30, 2006, about 1800 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 172N airplane, N738LJ, sustained substantial damage when it nosed over following an emergency descent and landing when it failed to climb after takeoff, about 4 miles northwest of Anchorage, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal local flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on July 31, the pilot told the IIC he took off from a private, grass-covered airstrip that requires a left turn after becoming airborne to clear trees adjacent to the runway. He reported that the airplane lifted off at 55 nautical miles per hour, and he lowered the nose to accelerate, but the airplane would not climb. He said the airplane's engine felt like it was not producing normal takeoff power, and the airplane descended, struck the ground, and nosed over. The pilot said the right wing and vertical stabilizer were damaged during the accident.

The airplane has not been examined by the IIC due to the remote location, and the pilot was unable to provide additional information regarding what may have produced the perceived loss of engine power.

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