According to the pilot, he was taking off on runway 04 (3,200 feet by 50 feet, gravel, down-sloping). The pilot stated that he leaned the mixture for altitude performance and added 20 degrees of flaps prior to the takeoff roll. "At mid-field the liftoff appeared normal" and the "airplane was beginning to become light on it's wheels and about to begin flying in ground effect." He said, "However, in the remaining 700 to 1,000 feet, at maximum acceleration, the aircraft appeared to be pushed back down to the ground. The pilot said he executed "emergency abort procedures which consisted of directing the aircraft toward bushes at the end of the runway to absorb the impact, pulling the fuel cut-off to stop the flow of fuel, and turning off the magnetos and ignition switch to reduce the chance of fire."

The airplane impacted bushes and a fence at the departure end of the runway. Both wings were crushed aft. The left main landing gear was bent aft and the left horizontal stabilizer was bent up and aft. The pilot reported no anomalies with the airplane or its systems.

Recorded temperatures in the area, at the time of the accident, ranged from 70 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (F) with dew points of 44 to 46 degrees F. According to the pilot, the temperature at the airport was 51 degrees F. Density altitude ranges were calculated to be from 10,000 to 12,200 feet. The pilot stated that there was "10 to 15 knots of tailwind" during the takeoff.

The airport runway slopes down 50 feet, and 40 foot trees are located at the end of the runway. The Cessna Pilot Operating Handbook for the accident airplane provides takeoff distance tables for short field takeoff procedures up to a pressure altitude of 8,000 feet. These procedures prescribe full throttle, mixture set at a placarded fuel flow, and 20 degrees of flaps prior to brake release on a paved, level, dry runway. For operations with tailwinds up to 10 knots, the takeoff distance is to be increased by 10 percent for each 2.5 knots. Extrapolation of the performance data shows a requirement of 3,200 to 3,300 feet takeoff distance to clear a 50 foot obstacle at the end of the runway.

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