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On July 19, 2008, about 1540 central daylight time, a single-engine Piper PA-22 airplane, N9980D, was destroyed upon impact with terrain following a loss of control during the takeoff-climb from a private airfield, Kemp, Texas. The aircraft departed the airstrip to the east. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual. The pilot and two passengers received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. The flight originated from the Sycamore Strip Airport, Fort Worth, Texas at about 1230.
Two other aircraft along with the accident airplane gathered at the private airfield earlier in the day. The other aircraft each departed approximately 5-10 minutes before the accident airplane.
A witness stated that she saw the airplane depart the airfield and then start a left turn; as the airplane continued the turn, the airplane lost altitude and the nose dropped. She added that there was no change in the sound of the airplane's engine.
The pilot occupying the left seat held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land. His third class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical was issued December 01, 2006. At which time the pilot reported that he had 1,500 hours flight time. The pilot rated passenger, located in the right seat, held a private pilot license. The passenger occupying the rear seat also held a student pilot certificate.
The airplane was a 1959 model Piper PA-22-150, "Tri-Pacer", which was a single-engine, high-wing airplane, with fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-320 reciprocating engine, rated at 160 HP. The engine was equipped with a Sensenich 2-blade, fixed-pitched propeller.
A review of the airplane's maintenance logbooks revealed that the last annual inspection was performed on February 17, 2008, at a total time of 4,655.7 hours and at a tachometer time of 1599.7 hours.
The amount of fuel on the airplane before departing the grass airfield (XA42) could not be determined; however, prior to its initial departure from the Sycamore airport, the airplane's left wing tank was filled with 12.3 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel.
At 1553, the automated weather station (TRL) located at Terrell, Texas, approximately 20 miles from the accident site, reported winds from 200 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, a clear sky, temperature 96 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 61 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter setting of 29.97 inches of Mercury.
Witnesses at the site, reported the weather at the time of the accident was "hot", with winds blowing 5-10 knots, with gusts "maybe as high as 20 knots."
The density altitude was calculated to be about 2,927 feet.
Connie's Aviation Airport (XA42) is a privately owned airfield with an east-west grass runway (Runway 9/27), approximately 1600-ft long by 60-ft wide.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane wreckage was examined at the site on July 20, 2008, by the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), along with technical representatives from Lycoming aircraft engines and the Piper aircraft company. The airplane came to rest inverted on a magnetic heading of approximately 308 degrees, about a third of a mile north of runway. The accident site was a vacant, flat, grass/field area, located in a rural residential area. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. A post-crash fire consumed a majority of the airframe and engine. Ground scars approximately 35-40 ft from the wreckage were consistent with a steep impact angle. The left and right wings, and engine remained attached to the fuselage. Flight control continuity was established; the pitch trim appeared to be in the "neutral" position and the flaps were in the "up" position.
The engine received both impact damage and extensive fire/heat damage. The engine accessories, including the magnetos and carburetor were fire damaged. The valve covers and the top spark plugs were removed; a borescope inspection of the three intact cylinders was preformed.
The airplane's two-bladed fixed pitch propeller had separated during the impact and was found about 4 inches deep in the soil. The propeller flange had fractured inside of the bolt ring. The separation appeared "clean" with 45-degree separations as well as twisting deformation. The outboard one-third of the first propeller blade was bent aft about 15 degrees. The leading edge was polished and had chordwise scratching. The second blade was bent forward about 45 degrees near mid-span. The outboard one-third section also displayed leading edge polishing and chordwise marks. The propeller markings and ground scars were consistent with the engine making power upon impact with the ground.
The on-site examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical anomalies.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot, by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, Texas on July 20, 2008. The Medical Examiner listed the cause of death for the pilot as, "blunt force injuries."
Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report was negative for tested drugs, carbon monoxide, cyanide and alcohol.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Using an approximation of the weights of the 3 occupants and fuel, the airplane was estimated to be near its maximum take-off limit on departure from XA42.