The flight was to be the private pilot’s first multiengine lesson in the Piper Aztec originating out of Hillsboro, Ore. Both the student receiving instruction and the MEI performed an uneventful preflight check and run-up, which included a check of the brakes and the security of the cabin door. During the takeoff roll, the cabin door opened.
The flight instructor called for the pilot to abort the takeoff. The pilot reduced engine power to idle and applied pressure to the brake pedals.
The plane was equipped with foot-operated brakes on the left side only, which was occupied by the pilot undergoing instruction.The airplane began to decelerate, however, as it approached the end of the runway, brake effectiveness began to dissipate, and the airplane went off the end of the runway and ended up in a ditch.
Investigators determined that the remaining runway distance, had it been flat, should have provided for an adequate distance to stop, however, the runway sloped downhill, with its gradient rapidly increasing beyond the threshold, which resulted in an increased distance needed to stop the airplane.
The post-accident examination of the braking system revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident as a runway overrun due to an insufficient stopping distance due to the downsloping runway during a rejected takeoff. Contributing to the accident was a cabin door that inadvertently opened during the takeoff roll.
NTSB Identification: WPR13LA154
This March 2013 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.