ERA12LA557
ERA12LA557

On September 9, 2012, about 0710 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-31-325, N3591P, was substantially damaged during an abnormal contact with the runway after takeoff from runway 27 at Washington County Airport, Washington, Pennsylvania. The airline transport-rated pilot, co-pilot, and two passengers were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Aeronational Incorporated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an air medical flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that, shortly after lifting off the runway, a flock of geese was approaching from the right side of the airplane. He felt that the birds could have impacted the cockpit windows, so he pushed the yoke forward to avoid a collision. The landing gear contacted the runway "very hard" and the airplane bounced back into the air. Unable to abort the takeoff due insufficient runway remaining, he continued with the takeoff. The pilot remained in the traffic pattern and landed the airplane without further incident.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector responded to the accident site and examined the airplane. The inspector confirmed substantial damage to the airframe. Bird remains were also found on the fuselage.

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