Aircraft: Piper Pawnee Brave. Injuries: None. Location: Cambridge, Neb. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was departing on the first agricultural application flight of the day. As he was taxiing he noticed the engine temperature rising, so he leaned the mixture.
He completed his engine run-up and took off. As the airplane was accelerating down the runway, he noticed it was not developing enough power, but he had used up most of the runway and could not abort the takeoff.
The airplane lacked sufficient power to climb and crashed in terrain about 600 feet from the airport.
The pilot reported that he inadvertently departed with the engine’s mixture control lever at the halfway leaned setting.
He added that there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane, and the accident could have been prevented if he had used a checklist.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to reset the engine’s mixture control lever to the full rich position prior to takeoff.
NTSB Identification: CEN11CA526
This July 2011 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.