Aircraft: Cessna P210. Injuries: 4 Fatal. Location: Burley, Idaho. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot attempted to takeoff with a tailwind of about 6 to 10 knots on what was described as a “high density altitude” day.
The airplane was loaded at, or very near to, its maximum allowable takeoff weight. Witnesses on the ground watched the airplane accelerate down the runway, not lifting off until it was about three-quarters of the way down the runway, which was shortly followed by the retraction of the landing gear.
When the airplane was approximately 75 feet AGL, it entered a left turn and began to descend. The descent continued onto the ground.
Investigators determined the takeoff weight was estimated to be within 50 pounds, plus or minus, of its maximum takeoff gross weight of 4,000 pounds. The combination of the high density altitude, the tailwind, and the high gross weight most likely resulted in the pilot not being able to maintain altitude during the turn because of the reduced vertical component of lift.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to attain sufficient altitude and maintain aircraft control during a turn shortly after liftoff while operating at maximum gross weight, with a tailwind, and in high density altitude conditions.
NTSB Identification: WPR11FA382
This August 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.