The pilot of the multi-engine Cessna 340 reported that, while using a short field takeoff technique on a private, dirt airstrip in Carvers, Nevada, the plane encountered soft patches of dirt.
He rotated to initiate a climb, but the plane could not climb higher than ground effect and the stall horn sounded. He lowered the nose to gain airspeed, but the landing gear hit a gravel berm, which sheared off the landing gear.
The airplane, which came to rest in a dirt field, sustained substantial damage to the left wing and right horizontal stabilizer.
The pilot also reported that, before takeoff, he walked the airstrip and determined there was about 5,000 feet of usable runway and he estimated he needed 3,800 feet. The airport elevation was about 5,000 feet and the density altitude was about 8,000 feet.
After the accident, he used Google Earth to measure the runway. He discovered it was about 3,500 feet.
The pilot reported that the wind was light and variable, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 72°F. The airplane was departing to the south. The airport elevation was about 5,500 feet mean sea level (msl). The calculated density altitude was 7,400 feet. The calculated takeoff distance on a level, hard surface, dry runway was 2,240 feet and the takeoff distance over a 50 foot obstacle was 2,930 feet. The calculated maximum rate of climb was 1,400 ft/min.
The pilot added there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to accurately assess the available runway for the takeoff, which resulted in impact with a gravel berm.
This plane obviously should not have even *landed* here. Now how do we get out? With a DA of 7400′ on a dirt strip, this outcome was predictable; wait for more favorable conditions?
This May 2019 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.