On May 26, 2012, about 0703 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-22-150, N9815D, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from Pope Field Airport (GFD), Greenfield, Indiana. The pilot and front seat passenger sustained minor injuries. The rear seat passenger was not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that he taxied from the hangar at the south end of the airport to runway 18 (2,165 feet by 150 feet, grass/turf) at the north end of the field. He then conducted an engine run-up, which included a carburetor heat check, without any anomalies. Partial wing flaps were extended for takeoff. The pilot stated that the taxi distance from the run-up location to the takeoff position was about 200 feet, and the start of the takeoff was not delayed for any reason. The ground roll was slightly longer than normal, which did not initially concern the pilot. However, after the airplane lifted off, it did not accelerate as usual. The pilot was able to clear an intervening set of power lines, but was unable to gain enough airspeed to sustain a climb. The pilot stated he was concerned about inducing an aerodynamic stall by attempting to climb over the approaching tree line and he elected to maintain controlled flight into the trees.

A postaccident examination of the engine and fuel system did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a partial loss of engine power.

Weather conditions recorded at the Shelbyville Municipal Airport (GEZ), located about 13 miles south of the accident site, at 0653, were: Calm wind; clear sky; visibility 4 miles in mist; temperature 19 degrees Celsius; dew point 18 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.12 inches of mercury. Federal Aviation Administration guidance noted a possibility of serious carburetor icing at glide power and moderate carburetor icing at cruise power under those conditions. The accident airport elevation was 895 feet. Based on the local weather data, the corresponding density altitude was about 1,346 feet. The pilot reported calm wind at the accident airport.

The owner's handbook noted that the required takeoff ground roll was 1,220 feet with wing flaps extended. The takeoff distance over a 50-foot obstacle was 1,600 feet with flaps extended. No takeoff distance information was provided with no flaps or with partial flaps. The airplane was configured with three flap positions; up, one-half down, and full down. The handbook stated, "The full flap position is used for maximum effect in landing and take-offs, while the half flap position is used when intermediate results are desired."

The maximum gross weight was 2,000 pounds. Loading information provided by the pilot indicated that the airplane was operating below the maximum takeoff weight at the time of the accident.

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