Amateur aerobatics lead to crash

This August 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Christen Eagle II Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Clearwater, Minn. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: There was no record of the pilot or passenger having aerobatic training or experience. The pilot had received training in the airplane which was logged as “Eagle Familiarization” from April 4, 2010, to May 15, 2010, with a total of 11.3 hours. The last pilot logbook entry was dated June 13, 2010, at which time he had accumulated 514.6 hours, including 18.4 hours in the accident airplane make and model.

In addition, neither the pilot nor passenger were wearing parachutes as required for aerobatic flight.

According to witnesses, the airplane was performing aerobatic maneuvers when it reportedly entered a spiraling dive. The pilot began to recover from the dive about 500 feet above the ground but ran out of altitude and the airplane crashed.

Examination of the wreckage revealed no pre-impact mechanical issues. The airplane weight and balance information was not recovered, but a reported estimate indicated that the airplane was being flown above the maximum weight and beyond the aft center gravity limits for aerobatic flight.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control and his improper decision to perform aerobatic maneuvers without proper experience or training in aerobatic flight. Also causal was his conduct of aerobatic flight in an airplane loaded outside its weight and balance limits.

For more information: NTSB Identification: CEN10LA491

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