Low-altitude stall kills one

Aircraft: Bellanca Citabria. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Brockton, Mont. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: Witnesses said the airplane made two low-altitude, 360° turns, climbed rapidly, then descended into the ground.

They reported that the engine sounded normal throughout the accident sequence.

The post-accident examination revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

A GPS receiver was recovered from the accident, however, no data was recovered for the accident flight. Data from previous flights revealed flight maneuvers at low altitudes similar to the one described by witnesses.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed and control while maneuvering at a low altitude, which resulted in a stall and subsequent impact with terrain.

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA123

This March 2012 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.

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