Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: None. Location: Price, Utah. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: It was a hot day when the pilot landed on a 3,600-foot-dirt strip at a field elevation of approximately 5,891 feet, then decided to take off again.
He reported he took off with 20° of flaps and was never able to get more than 10 feet above the runway surface area. At the end of the runway he noticed two dirt berms about 3 to 4 feet high. He pulled back on the yoke, missing the first berm, but the airplane settled back down and struck the second one. The Cessna nosed over onto its back.
The pilot operating handbook (POH) states that soft or rough field takeoffs should be performed with no more than 10° of flaps. Furthermore the airport’s density altitude at the time of the accident was calculated to be approximately 10,000 feet, which is 2,000 feet above the maximum altitude listed in the takeoff performance charts in the POH.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to attempt a takeoff at a density altitude outside of the takeoff performance envelope of the aircraft, along with using a flap setting higher than the manufacture’s recommended setting for takeoff.
NTSB Identification: WPR11CA295
This June 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.