Tomahawk ends up in reservoir

This February 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Aircraft: Piper Tomahawk.

Location: Ontario, Ore.

Injuries: None.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to do a soft field takeoff. According to the pilot’s operating handbook for the airplane, the correct procedure for soft field takeoff requires the pilot hold the control yoke full aft until lift off, then hold the yoke in a near neutral position to allow the airplane to accelerate in ground effect. Instead, the pilot continued to hold the yoke all the way back. Due to the position of the control yoke, the plane did not accelerate properly and used considerably more runway than normal. It lifted off approximately 1,600 feet down the 1,840 foot runway, then mushed into the reservoir just off the departure end of the runway.

There was no report of any engine or flight control problem.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to obtain and maintain an airspeed above stall after takeoff and his failure to correctly understand the procedure to use for a soft field takeoff.

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