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NTSB Identification: IAD04CA042
On August 29, 2004, at 1620 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-24-180, N7573P, was substantially damaged when it collided with a wind tetrahedron after a loss of directional control during takeoff from the Ocean City Municipal Airport (26N), Ocean City, New Jersey. The certificated private pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Ocean City, destined for Indian Head, Maryland (2W5). No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot said that he performed weight and balance calculations for the airplane prior to departing Indian Head, Maryland, for the flight to Ocean City. He reasoned that the airplane was still within limits for the takeoff from Ocean City because the weight of the fuel consumed during the flight from Maryland could be subtracted from the total weight of the airplane.

The airplane veered left during takeoff from runway 24. After departing the runway to the left, the pilot encountered the wind tetrahedron in his path. He attempted to "pull up" and over fly the tetrahedron, but struck it with the belly of the airplane. He reduced power and completed a landing to the grass infield of the airport.

The pilot said that he felt the loss of directional control was due to a phenomenon called "wheelbarrowing," and that the PA-24 is susceptible its effects. He further stated, "I feel that this (event) was due to pilot error and not a maintenance problem. The aircraft was performing within all the green parameters at the time of the accident."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Airplane Flying Handbook:

"Holding the airplane on the ground unnecessarily puts excessive pressure on the nosewheel, (and) may result in wheelbarrowing..."

According to the Danbury Flight School, Danbury, Connecticut: "Wheelbarrowing may cause loss of directional control... (as) the airplane tends to swerve or pivot on the nosewheel, particularly in crosswind conditions."

The weather reported at the Atlantic City International Airport, 12 miles north of the crash site, at 1356, included winds from 170 degrees at 11 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, and a few clouds at 2,100 feet. The temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit, the dew point 71 degrees Fahrenheit, and the barometric pressure was 29.99 inches of mercury. The density altitude was 1,669 feet.