August 10, 2010, Orange, Mass., Cessna 172


The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain at 2115 Eastern time, shortly after takeoff. The two private pilots on board were fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

Shortly before takeoff, the airplanes fuel tanks were topped off. The lineman subsequently reported the pilots did not sump the tanks but that the run-up and takeoff were normal. A witness, who was at his home near the runways departure end, heard the accident airplane fly overhead as it took off. He stated the engine was “spitting and sputtering” and producing popping noises, which seemed to “smooth out” as the airplane turned away. He stated that the airplane appeared to be climbing, but “not as fast” as other airplanes. Another witness heard the engine “hum” and “get louder and softer” prior to impact.


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