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Summary

Summary

The pilot had limited experience in night operations. Until this flight, all night take-offs since obtaining his Command instrument rating had been conducted from airports in well lit areas. This particular take-off was conducted into an area devoid of external visual cues. The aircraft become airborne at the normal speed, and the pilot reported that after lift-off the aircraft was held parallel to the runway until the two-engine best rate of climb speed was acquired. The aircraft was then rotated so that a nose up attitude and positive rate of climb were indicated, whereupon the landing gear was selected up and the landing lights were selected off. The pilot stated that he then checked that the airspeed was 120 knots, the desired climb speed, and was commencing to adjust the throttles when the aircraft struck the ground. The initial propeller strikes indicate that the aircraft had a groundspeed of approximately 136 knots at impact. No faults were found with the aircraft or the aircraft systems that may have contributed to the occurrence. It was likely that the pilot had hurried the after takeoff checks, and had not adequately monitored the attitude of the aircraft.

 
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