ERA11LA342
ERA11LA342

On June 14, 2011, about 1040 eastern daylight time, a Grumman American AA-5A, N8476B, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees during takeoff from Flyers Airport (9NC2), Linden, North Carolina. The certificated commercial pilot and three passengers sustained minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned local flight.

The pilot stated that he had been flying out of 9NC2 for over 20 years and was very familiar with the 2,850-foot-long turf runway. Additionally, he had departed many times with the three passengers onboard, who were his grandchildren, ages 10, 12, and 14. The pilot further stated that the takeoff weight was below the 2,200-pound maximum gross weight and he departed with an approximate 5-knot headwind. During the initial climb after takeoff from runway 04, the airplane felt like the engine was not developing full power, and was not going to clear a tree at the end of the runway. The pilot lowered the nose, rather than risking a stall, and the airplane settled into trees. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground and a postcrash fire ensued. All occupants were able to safely egress before the fire consumed the airplane.

The four-seat, low-wing, fixed-gear airplane was manufactured in 1979. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-320, 150-horsepower engine. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on October 6, 2010. The airplane had accumulated 2,372.4 total hours of operation, including 15.9 hours since the annual inspection.

Postcrash examination of the engine after recovery from the accident site was performed by an NTSB investigator. The examination revealed that the engine was heavily fire damaged and fire damage precluded an inspection of the fuel or ignition system. The sparkplugs exhibited normal wear signatures when compared to a Champion Check-A-Plug chart. The valve covers were removed, which revealed the No. 4 valves were seized, consistent with thermal damage from the fire. Additionally, the No. 4 pushrods were warped, the magnetos had melted, and the accessory housing melted. After the accessory housing was removed, the crankshaft was rotated 360 degrees by hand. Camshaft, crankshaft, and valvetrain continuity was confirmed. Thumb compression was attained on cylinder Nos. 1 through 3; however, the compression on cylinder No. 1 was lower than the other two cylinders. Thumb compression could not be attained on cylinder No. 4 due to the seized valves. The examination could not determine if the lower compression on cylinder No. 1 was a preimpact condition, or a result of the impact and fire damage.

The 1055 recorded weather, at an airport located about 14 miles southwest of the accident site, included wind from 070 degrees at 8 knots, clear sky and temperature 79 degrees F.

The pilot provided weight and balance data, which revealed that the airplane weighed approximately 2,000 pounds during the accident takeoff. Review of a takeoff data chart, from the same make and model airplane owner's manual, revealed that at sea level, at maximum gross weight, at 79 degrees F, with a 5-knot headwind, the airplane required a ground run of approximately 800 feet for takeoff and 1,465 feet to clear a 50-foot obstacle. The data assumed a hard surface runway.

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