Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary WPR21LA319

Panguitch, UT, USA

Aircraft #1


PIPER PA-28-140


The pilot reported that, he conducted a maximum performance takeoff by adding full power and holding the brakes until engine RPM stabilized. The pilot released the brakes, and upon reaching rotation speed, the airplane drifted left. He maneuvered the airplane toward the runway centerline, and it touched down onto the runway briefly before it became airborne again. The airplane ascended to about 100 ft above ground level, before it began descending. The pilot stated that, there was no available runway remaining, so he initiated a forced landing to the uneven terrain ahead. During the landing roll, the airplane struck a fence and vegetation substantially damaging the fuselage. The pilot reported that prior to takeoff, he calculated the airplane’s weight with passengers and fuel, and determined it to be about 20 pounds under the maximum gross weight of the airplane. However, the pilot did not conduct preflight performance calculations prior to takeoff. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation and that if he took more time in preflight preparations, he would have noticed that the density altitude was too high to takeoff. The pilot operating handbook take-off distance vs. density altitude chart states “extrapolation of chart above 7,000 ft. [density altitude] is invalid. The calculated density altitude at the time of the accident was 9,000 ft mean sea level (msl).

Probable Cause and Findings

The airplane’s inability to maintain altitude during the initial climb due to a degradation in the airplane’s performance due to high-density altitude conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to conduct preflight performance planning calculations.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

Get all the details on your iPhone or iPad with:

Aviation Accidents App

In-Depth Access to Aviation Accident Reports