April 11, 2015 – A Piper Aerostar 601P comes in for a landing at Fort Pierce, Florida. Spectator Dale Hoppas witnesses the aircraft taking off after striking its belly and props on the runway.
I was walking down the flight line of aircraft that flew in for the day which is close to the main runway and noticed this light twin aircraft coming in low. I noticed he did not have his landing gear down and thought he was going to do a Fly-by, but then noticed the power was pulled back with the aircraft approaching for a landing with no landing gear, the belly and tips of props impacted the runway (The sound of the props hitting the surface was one sound you will not forget).
Once the pilot realized his mistake, he gave what appeared to be full throttle and both props pulled the front of aircraft down with the props making a second impact to runway with the pilot forcing the aircraft into the air. Somehow the engines stayed on and running, the pilot was able to regain control with leaving the airport.
It’s amazing the airplane engines did not get destroyed during the props impact and the pilot did not stall out on the forced takeoff with the high angle of attack and damaged props. I heard later the pilot flew back from his home filed on one piece. – Dale Hoppas