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N3811L accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location 43.142222°N, 85.253889°W
Nearest city Greenville, MI
43.177531°N, 85.252799°W
2.4 miles away
Tail number N3811L
Accident date 07 Sep 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 172G
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

On September 7, 2003, at 1800 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172G, N3811L, operated by Monarch Aviation as a rental airplane, received substantial damage on impact with trees and terrain during initial climb from runway 28 (4,200 feet by 75 feet, asphalt) at Greenville Municipal Airport (6O6), Greenville, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The private rated pilot and three passengers reported no injuries. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot's written statement, the airplane started the takeoff roll with 20 degrees of flaps. The pilot stated he rotated the airplane about 60 miles per hour. The pilot reported the airplane stayed in "ground effect" to gain airspeed. The pilot stated that when the wings started to stall, he lowered the nose of the airplane in an attempt to regain airspeed. The airplane then impacted trees at the departure end at runway 28.

The 1966 Cessna 172G has a maximum weight in the normal category of 2,300 pounds and a maximum weight in the utility category weight of 2,000 pounds. The airplane has a total fuel capacity of 39 gallons and a total usable fuel capacity of 36 gallons.

The 1966 Cessna 172 and Skyhawk Owner's Manual states, "normal and obstacle clearance take-offs are performed with wing flaps up. The use of 10 [degrees] flaps will shorten the ground run approximately 10 [percent] but this advantage is lost in the climb to a 50-foot obstacle. Therefore, the use of 10 [degree] flaps is reserved for minimum ground runs or for take-off from soft or rough fields with no obstacles ahead."

"If 10 [degrees] of flaps are used in ground runs, it is preferable to leave them extended rather than retract them in the climb to the obstacle. The exception to this rule would be in a high altitude take-off in hot weather where climb would be marginal with flaps 10 [degrees]."

"Flap settings of 30 [degrees] to 40 [degrees] are not recommended at any time for take-off."

The pilot reported that there was 38 gallons/228 pounds of 100 low lead fuel at the time of takeoff.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan, Automated Surface Observation System, located about 20 nautical miles southwest, recorded at 1756: wind 260 degrees at 9 knots; temperature 27 degrees Celsius; dew point 16 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting, 30.06 inches of mercury. The relative humidity at the time of accident was 51 percent.

Airport information indicates the following obstructions for runway 10: 70 foot trees, 2,117 feet from the runway, 27:1 slope to clear. Obstructions for runway 28 are: 55 foot trees, 1,788 feet from runway, 28:1 slope to clear.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate takeoff procedure with the use of 20 degrees of flaps. Contributing factors were the interrelated effects of high aircraft weight, the density altitude, and the relative humidity. An additional factor was the trees.

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