June 3, 2008, Palatka, Fla., Piper PA-28R-201T


The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain at 0930 Eastern time during a forced landing. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot thought that the rate of climb was “sluggish,” even though engine instruments presented normal indications. The pilot initiated a turn to the right, since the terrain ahead contained many houses. Airplane performance continued to deteriorate. The pilot attempted to avoid obstacles, such as trees and power lines, but eventually impacted trees and terrain.

The airplane was classified by the FAA as experimental, in the research and development category. For research and development purposes, the airplane was equipped with an experimental rotary engine.


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