Mooney Mite Collides with a Train

Atlanta Field Office

Person Interviewed: Fred Schmidt

Address and telephone: 122 South Main, Camden, Ohio, 45311

Interviewed by: K. Burnett

Place of interview: Camden, Ohio

Date: November 2, 1987

Aviation experience: Private Pilot

Occurrence involvement: Witness

Fred Schmidt is the owner of the airstrip and friend of the pilot of N4157. He said the pilot flew into Mite field on the morning of November 1, 1988 at about 0800 hours. Mr. Schmidt met his friend at the airport and they went into town to have breakfast. They ate at a restaurant that Mr. Schmidt has eaten at for 20 years. Mr. Lohse had pancakes and sausage. They returned to the airport between 1030 and 1130 hours. Mr. Schmidt owns a Mooney Mite that he keeps at his airport and he decided to go flying with Mr. Lohse. Both pilots got in their respective aircraft and did a run-up for about one minute. Then Mr. Lohse taxied onto the airstrip and proceeded to take-off from runway 03, about 75-100 feet from the threshold. Mr. Schmidt said that N4157 departed in one continuous movement. The aircraft ran down the runway for what appeared to be a longer than normal ground run. Mr. Schmidt knew right away that the aircraft had taken off downwind. The wind was right down the runway from 210 degrees at about 5-10 knots. The aircraft did not seem to accelerate normally and staggered off the runway about 1000 feet from the threshold of 03. At no point did the pilot attempt to abort the take-off. The aircraft climbed about 15-20 feet above the ground and made a sharp left turn, colliding with the left side of a southbound train.

Mr. Schmidt said there was no indication of engine problems during the take-off run that he could hear. He said normally he would use 16.5 degrees (full flap) for take-off but he can't remember if the flap was down on the accident aircraft during the take-off.