First Aborted Takeoff for Real!

Today, the kids were tracked out of school so I decided to take them and a friend of mine, Tony, from the flying club out for a $100 hamburger (pilot parlance for flying to lunch).  After finishing computer instrument training, I preflighted one of the Piper Warriors and planned on flying to Grand Strand/North Myrtle Beach Airport (KCRE) for a burger-joint a mile up the road.

Preflight went fine, taxied out to Runway 21, waited for traffic to land and pulled out onto the runway.  I gave the bird full power and noticed that the pitch (sound) was not as high of a note as expected.  The tach was showing around 2,300 RPM’s and we were accelerating.  However, when we reached around 52-54 knots, we stopped accelerating.  That is rotation speed so I let the nosewheel come up, but the main gears were not leaving the ground.  After a couple of seconds, we got airborne a few inches but nothing more.   I immediately decided this was “No Bueno” so I pulled power and aborted the takeoff.

I taxied off of the active runway to an empty portion of tarmac and ran the engine up a few times and completed procedures to clear any fouled plugs on magneto checks.  I still did not get a comfortable feeling so brought it back to maintenance.  Maintenance decided that it was just a fouled plug and combine that with being close to gross weight, the plane was just sluggish.  However, I was complimented on my decision-making in “being down here wishing I was up there rather than being up there wishing I was down here.”

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