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N5681P accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location 38.031389°N, 97.509167°W
Nearest city Halstead, KS
38.043067°N, 97.536430°W
1.7 miles away
Tail number N5681P
Accident date 05 Feb 2003
Aircraft type Piper PA-24-180
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On February, 5, 2003, at 1715 central standard time, a Piper PA-24-180 Comanche, piloted by a flight instructor and dual student, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from runway 17 (2,640 feet x 150 feet, turf) at the Halstead Airport (SN05), Halstead, Kansas. The dual student was a private pilot receiving a complex aircraft checkout and Comanche familiarization. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight instructor and dual student reported no injuries.

According to the flight instructor's statement, the flight originally departed Halstead Airport early on the afternoon of the accident. He noted that they had completed airwork, and touch and goes at Hutchison (HUT) and Kingman (9K8). They departed Kingman at 1635 to return to Halstead.

Upon arrival at Halstead, they landed to the south and taxied back to the beginning of runway 17. The instructor stated that the wind was light and was still out of the south, as it had been all afternoon.

He noted that a soft field technique was employed on the accident takeoff, and that the full runway length was used. He stated: "Just over half way down [the] runway -- normal acceleration degraded. We were past abort point and due to dangerous road area elected to fly", although the aircraft was "behind the power curve."

After liftoff, the instructor stated the aircraft did not level out very much and was at a relatively high pitch attitude. Initially the aircraft climbed to approximately 40 feet above ground level. However, it settled lower and was "bobbling" in and out of ground effect as they approached the runway, according to the instructor.

The flight instructor reported that, due to an inability to climb, they were forced to fly under a set of power lines at the end of the runway. The power lines ran along a roadway, which bordered the south side of the airport. He stated that they "could not accelerate" and were "unable to climb." The decision was made to cut the power and impact (landing) was made before reaching more obstructions (trees)."

Initial impact was on the right wing tip and right main landing gear, according to the instructor. The aircraft came to rest about 1/4 mile south of the airport in a wheat field. Upon exiting the aircraft, he noted that the wind was now from the north.

The instructor noted that SN05 did not have any weather reporting services, although a wind sock was located approximately 1/2 mile from the runway. He reported the runway condition as dry, short grass.

Weather at the scene was reported as overcast with light winds, by the flight instructor. He estimated a tail wind component of 5 ~ 10 knots on takeoff. He stated that after the accident, the wind started picking up out of the north and the temperature got noticeably colder.

Weather conditions reported by the Newton City/County Airport (EWK) automated weather observing station (AWOS), approximately 11 nm east of the accident site, at 1655 were: few clouds at 3,500 feet agl, and wind from 030 degrees magnetic at 9 knots.

Both pilots indicated that there were no problems with the aircraft or engine, either prior to, or at the time of the accident.

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook, concerning soft field takeoffs, states: "After becoming airborne, the nose should be lowered very gently with the wheels clear of the surface to allow the airplane to accelerate. ... An attempt to climb prematurely or too steeply may cause the airplane to settle back to the surface as a result of losing the benefit of ground effect."

NTSB Probable Cause

Failure by the flight crew to execute an aborted takeoff when acceleration degraded and the improper soft field takeoff procedure as flown by the private pilot. Contributing factors were inadequate supervision by the flight instructor and the tailwind encountered on takeoff.

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