Aircraft: RV-8. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Armistead, Calif. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: Multiple witnesses located near the accident site reported seeing the airplane flying over their position about 130 feet above the ground followed by it performing several barrel rolls.
The pilot made a 180° turn, then initiated a loop at a low altitude. The airplane hit the ground in a near-vertical attitude before the maneuver was completed.
The post-accident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of a malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from terrain while performing low altitude aerobatic maneuvers.
NTSB Identification: WPR12FA062
This December 2011 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.