WPR09LA401
WPR09LA401

On August 9, 2009, about 0915 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N32105, collided with terrain during a rejected takeoff from Soldier Meadows Airport number 1 (NV06) near Gerlach, Nevada. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certificated private pilot and two passengers were not injured. The fuselage, wing spars, landing gear, and horizontal stabilator sustained substantial damage from impact forces with rocks. The cross-country personal flight was departing Gerlach with a planned destination of Sacramento, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that the airplane had not reached 60 miles per hour (mph) indicated airspeed on the takeoff roll when he saw the end of runway markers. He elected to abort the takeoff, and shut down the engine. To insure that he did not collide with a fence about 300 feet from the end of the runway, he directed the airplane off the left side of the runway. It went into heavy vegetation, rocks, and rough ground. The airplane came to a stop about 100 feet from the runway surface.

The pilot calculated that he needed more than 2,500 feet nominally to complete the takeoff. Since the surface was hard dirt, he assumed a 20 percent margin. He determined that this left him more than 1,000 feet remaining if the runway length was as charted. The Klamath Falls sectional chart noted that the length of the longest runway was 4,000 feet.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage at the accident site and measured track marks in low vegetation leading up to the wreckage. The inspector noted that the takeoff roll began abeam the windsock, which is about 300 feet from the beginning of the runway. The tire tracks veered to the right into the grass adjacent to the runway surface before the midfield point, and continued parallel to the runway. About 2,790 feet from the windsock, the left track passed within inches of the edge of a set of white-painted tires that were embedded upright in the dirt a few feet off the runway edge and approximately 1,041 feet from the end of the runway surface and fence line. The tops of the tires contained scuff marks. The tracks continued back to the left across the runway, and led to the wreckage. The inspector measured a maximum runway length of 4,131 feet.

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