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The Heat of the Moment


It was right after lunch when Jon and Mackenzie took off in a Cessna 170 from Byrds Backcountry Airstrip located 13 miles north-northeast of Ozark, Arkansas. Density altitude was high that afternoon at the grass airstrip. About three-quarters down the short runway—just as Jon was about to abort the takeoff—the airplane lifted off and began a shallow climb. However, the Cessna 170 would not clear the tree line.

In this real pilot story, the couple and a pilot who witnessed the accident share their harrowing experience and the circumstances that led to the dreadful accident that afternoon in the Ozarks.

ASI’s Real Pilot Stories allow pilots to share their encounter with a dilemma so others can benefit—while comfortable on the ground—from lessons learned the hard way in flight.

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