After discharging three parachutists into a drop zone from about 12,000 feet mean sea level, the pilot attempted to return to the departure airport. The engine began surging as the airplane descended through 8,000 feet. The pilot continued the descent and entered the departure airport’s traffic pattern. He misjudged his distance from the runway, and when all engine power was lost turning onto the final approach leg he was unable to glide to the runway.
The flight had proceeded without incident until a visual approach was made to the destination airport, but a landing was not completed because of poor visibility due to ground fog. The pilot then requested vectors to another airport, and was advised by ATC that he was below radar coverage, and he could not be radar identified. The pilot stated he would proceed to a third airport;
The pilot reported that she taxied the aircraft to the grass covered run-up area in preparation for takeoff. As the aircraft moved over the grass, a ‘snapping’ sound was heard and the aircraft ’tilted back and to the right.’ The right wing and right side stabilizer contacted the ground.
After takeoff the pilot raised the landing gear and then had to take evasive action to the right to avoid a flock of birds. As he performed the evasive maneuver, he raised the flaps. The aircraft was slow, and he kept the nose down to build up speed for the climb. Just as he was to commence the climb, he caught a glimpse of a wire ahead. He pulled up rapidly, but contacted the wire with the right wing.
Prior to the day of the accident, the pilot had not flown out of the airstrip. During takeoff, the airplane traveled over a ‘soft spot’, and began to veer to the left. The pilot was unable to correct the turn, the airplane went off the left side of the runway and struck a tree. The runway was 1,515 feet long, 110 feet wide, and consisted of soft turf. Review of the pilot’s weight and balance calculations revealed that the airplane was approximately 300 pounds over the maximum gross takeoff weight.