National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report
Date & Time:
10/20/1999, 1445 MDT
1 Minor, 3 None
Flight Conducted Under:
Part 91: General Aviation - Personal
The pilot performed an intersection takeoff with 4,100 feet of usable runway remaining. As he took the runway for takeoff, the pilot advanced the throttle to half full, then followed with full throttle after the roll was initiated. The pilot said that the airplane did not perform as expected during the takeoff roll. 'The nose of the aircraft was gradually lifted off the runway and the typical liftoff and climbout power anticipated was absent.' The pilot determined the airplane was not going to get safely airborne and aborted the takeoff. The pilot said that he applied brakes, but determined that his speed was going to take him off the end of the runway. The pilot said he avoided obstacles as the airplane passed over 'an approximately 10 feet drop off.' He guided the airplane between a 7 foot tall tree which took off the right wing. Examination of the wreckage revealed no anomalies. According to the 25-degree Flaps Takeoff Ground Roll chart in the Pilot's Operating Handbook; for a 3,600 pound airplane, temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, pressure altitude of 6,800 feet msl, and estimated headwind of 5 knots, the takeoff ground roll was approximately 1,950 feet. Associated conditions included 2,700 rpm, full throttle before brake release, and a paved, level, dry runway. The Flaps Up Takeoff Ground Roll chart for a 3,600 pound airplane and the same conditions, showed the takeoff ground roll to be approximately 2,790 feet.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
the pilot's inadequate preflight planning and decision to perform an intersection takeoff, and the improper short field, rolling, intersection takeoff. A factor relating to this accident was the trees.
Occurrence #1: OVERRUN
On October 20, 1999, at 1445 mountain daylight time (mdt), a Piper PA-32-300, N2XT, operated by a private pilot, was destroyed when during an aborted takeoff, the airplane exceeded the prepared surface of runway 26 (5,500 feet by 60 feet, dry asphalt) at the Custer County Airport, South Dakota. Once off the end of the runway, the airplane went off a shallow cliff, and struck a boulder and some trees. A post-crash fire ensued which consumed the airplane. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. There was no flight plan on file. The pilot and two of the passengers on board reported no injuries. A third passenger sustained minor injuries. The cross country flight was originating at the time of the accident, with an intended destination of Chamberlain, South Dakota.
In his statement to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot said that he made an intersection takeoff on runway 26. The intersection, formed by the runway and a north-south taxiway, was located 1,400 feet down, from the approach end of the runway.
In his written statement, the pilot said that as he took the runway, he advanced the throttle to approximately half full, then shortly followed with full throttle after the roll was initiated.
The pilot said that the airplane did not perform as expected during the takeoff roll. "The nose of the aircraft was gradually lifted off the runway and the typical liftoff and climbout power that was anticipated was absent." The attitude was increased to attain a climb but minimal altitude was achieved and estimated at only several feet above the ground." When the pilot determined that the "aircraft was not capable of a safe takeoff and climbout", he attempted an abort. The pilot said that he applied brakes but determined that his speed was going to take him off the end of the runway. The pilot said he avoided obstacles as the airplane passed over "an approximately 10 feet drop off." The airplane was "guided between a seven feet tall tree and a rock, and the right wing [was] torn off by the tree." The pilot said that after the airplane stopped and everyone got out, they noticed smoke coming out of the area from underneath the engine. They looked for the fire extinguisher in the airplane, but could not find it. Moments later, the airplane was on fire.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the wreckage at the accident site. The remains of the airplane rested approximately 450 feet west of the departure end of runway 26. Approximately 400 feet west of the departure end of the runway, the terrain dropped off abruptly creating a 5 foot drop off. At the foot of the drop off was a large boulder, approximately 5 feet in diameter. Approximately 30 feet west of the boulder were two 8-inch diameter pine trees. The airplane's right wing was broken off and found resting at the base of the trees. The remainder of the airplane was located 20 feet west of the trees. A two acre area of grass land was burned in the area surrounding the airplane. Flight control continuity was confirmed. Examination of the engine, engine controls and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies.
According to the 25-degree Flaps Takeoff Ground Roll chart in the Performance Section of the Piper PA-32R-300, Cherokee Lance Pilot's Operating Handbook; for a 3,600 pound airplane, an outside air temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a pressure altitude of 6,800 feet mean sea level, and an estimated headwind component of 5 knots, the takeoff ground roll was approximately 1,950 feet. Associated conditions included 2,700 rpm, full throttle before brake release, and a paved, level, dry runway.
According to the Flaps Up Takeoff Ground Roll chart in the Performance Section of the Piper PA-32R-300, Cherokee Lance Pilot's Operating Handbook; for a 3,600 pound airplane and the same conditions, the takeoff ground roll was approximately 2,790 feet.
The FAA determined that the useable runway distance for runway 26, beginning at the intersection, was 4,100 feet. Runway 26 was observed to slope upward slightly, proceeding down the runway from the intersection.
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present:
Class 3 Valid Medical--no waivers/lim.
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
641 hours (Total, all aircraft), 101 hours (Total, this make and model), 621 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 18 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information
Year of Manufacture:
Landing Gear Type:
Retractable - Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Airframe Total Time:
Installed, not activated
Operating Certificate(s) Held:
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
CUT, 0 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
260 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Clear / 0 ft agl
None / 0 ft agl
10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
30 inches Hg
16°C / -6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
CHAMBERLAIN, SD (9V9)
Type of Clearance:
Type of Airspace:
CUSTER COUNTY AIRPORT (CUT)
Runway Surface Type:
Runway Surface Condition:
5500 ft / 60 ft
Wreckage and Impact Information
1 Minor, 2 None
1 Minor, 3 None
Investigator In Charge (IIC):
DAVID C BOWLING
Additional Participating Persons:
RILEY J WALLINGFORD; RAPID CITY, SD
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