December 8, 2009, Fresno, Calif., Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk


At about 1248 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during initial climb. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses observed the airplane take off and heard the engine sputtering. The witnesses stated the airplane passed the departure end of the runway and started a left descending turn, “as if [the airplane] was trying to return to the airport.” Subsequently the airplane impacted an open field about 400 feet before the departure end of the runway.


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