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N45943 accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Roscommon, MI
44.227795°N, 84.752526°W
Tail number N45943
Accident date 20 May 2001
Aircraft type Cessna 152
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

On May 20, 2001, at 1210 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 152, N45943, piloted by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage during an on-ground collision with trees following an aborted takeoff from runway 18 ( 2,475 feet by 100 feet, dry/grass ) at the Roscommon Conservation Airport, Roscommon, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. The pilot and his passenger reported no injuries. The local flight was departing at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot's written statement, he was demonstrating a short field takeoff technique to his pilot-rated passenger at the time of the accident. The pilot reported, "The takeoff roll was longer than normal (maybe 200 ft.) which I attributed to our heavy loading (approx. 25 lbs. under max. gross), the rough surface, and perhaps some to the 2220ft. density altitude HTL [Roscommon County Airport] AWOS [Automated Weather Observing System] was reporting."

The pilot stated, "We lifted off prior to reaching the intersection of runway 9/27 which I have always used as my go/no go point. After lift-off I checked the airspeed to get the desired obstacle clearance airspeed (54kts.) I immediately sense a lack of acceleration and climb performance so I held lift-off attitude. Still not getting any acceleration, I lowered the nose slightly. The stall warner [stall horn] stopped beeping and we settled from about 30ft. to about 20ft. Suspecting we had encountered a wind lull as we had on our previous take-off, I thought we would start climbing normally any second."

The pilot reported, "I went to Vx [best angle-of-climb airspeed] but we were covering a lot of ground and making very little altitude. I checked the tach which showed 2350-2400 rpm which should have been enough to climb. At about 50ft. agl [above ground level] with 70ft. trees ahead, It became obvious we would not clear them. I did not want to go into the trees airborne, I decided to risk the airplane rather than risk serious injury or worse."

The pilot stated, "I closed the throttle and lowered the nose steeply - - flairing [flaring] at the last second, contacting the ground 130ft. from the tree line. I was unable to stop short of contacting the trees."

The pilot reported, "...consulted the aircraft P.O.H [pilot operating handbook] on down-wind take-off performance. Reconstructing the conditions of our situation that day, and figuring an 8kt. tail-wind, the numbers on the performance chart mirrored the performance we experienced."

The pilot stated, "I am certain that we experienced a drastic unexpected wind shift which gave us a tail-wind component."

NTSB Probable Cause

The failure of the pilot to maintain clearance from the tree line. Factors to the accident were the tailwind, the aircraft being near gross weight, the high density altitude, the rough runway condition, and the tree line. An additional factor to the accident was the failure of the pilot to calculate takeoff performance data prior to the takeoff.

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