SEA07LA141
SEA07LA141

On May 31, 2007, at 1929 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180, N5231L, collided with terrain off of the departure end of runway 25 at Rosamond Skypark Airport, Rosamond, California. The pilot, who was also the registered owner of the airplane, was operating it under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and three passengers were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The pilot was destined for Corona Municipal Airport, Corona, California.

The Safety Board investigator interviewed the pilot immediately following the accident. The pilot stated that the airplane did not climb normally during the takeoff and it settled into terrain off the end of the runway. The pilot did not notice any change in engine sound during the takeoff, and the run-up checks were all within limits.

In the pilot's written statement, he reported that he departed Corona Municipal Airport, Corona, California, and landed at Rosamond uneventfully about 1800. After having dinner, the pilot conducted his preflight and calculated a density altitude of 4,428 feet. The pilot completed his checklists with his wife calling out the items. The airplane accelerated to 75 miles per hour and the pilot pulled back on the yoke. The airplane lifted approximately 1,200 feet down the runway. The pilot stated that it seemed the airplane lacked climb power. The airplane was about 2 feet off of the runway and not gaining altitude. He looked down to check his control settings (mixture, fuel pump, primer) and the airplane drifted to the right. At this point, the airplane was nearing the end of the runway and he saw a chain link fence. The pilot applied additional backpressure on the yoke and climbed to 15 feet above ground level. The airplane cleared the fence and subsequently settled in the soft, sandy soil. As the airplane touched down, the right main landing gear dug into the soft sand and the airplane was jerked to the right, suddenly stopping. The pilot then shut down the airplane and exited.

Weight and balance forms were not located following the accident, so the airplane manufacturer's data (dated December 11, 1967) was used to calculate weight and balance for the accident flight. Using the passenger and pilot weights obtained from the pilot, and the calculated fuel onboard, the takeoff weight of the airplane was calculated to be 2,297.5 pounds with a center of gravity 91.1 inches aft of datum. The airplane was within its CG range and about 100 pounds lower than its maximum gross weight.

Using a Safety Board computer program, the density altitude was calculated to be approximately 4,000 feet.

Kern County Sheriff's Office responded to the accident scene and interviewed two witnesses. Both witnesses were dining at the airpark restaurant. The first witness indicated that the airplane made several attempts to takeoff from the runway and climbed to about 30 feet. The airplane then collided with terrain west of the airpark. The second witness reported that the airplane appeared to lift from the runway several times and then veered off the runway into the dirt. The airplane corrected back to the runway and then climbed 30 feet before it landed in the desert west of the airpark.

According to the Airport Facility Directory/Southwest, runway 07/25 is 3,600 feet in length and has a width of 50 feet. The elevation is 2,415 feet mean sea level.

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