Low-altitude pass proves fatal

Aircraft: North American T-6. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Perry, Mich. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot stated that after takeoff, he was planning to overfly the runway for a “photo pass.”

He reported the wind was from the southwest, gusting to 20 knots with light turbulence, at the time of the accident. He made a slight right turn, followed by a left turn, but could not recall the details of the accident.

According to a witness on the ground, when the airplane turned left the bank angle steepened and the descent rate increased. The engine sounded normal until the T-6 crashed into a barn.

The post-accident examination did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact malfunction or failure.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain control while maneuvering at low altitude after takeoff, resulting in a collision with a barn.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA324

This May 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.


  1. Johnny Blaser says:

    If the pilot took off into the wind which would have been to the south/ south west, the same direction as the gusts (20kts), and then turned to the left, downwind from the gusts, then he would have lost sufficent lift, and thus descended into the barn and the hay bailer within. If he had turned right, into the wind and gotten lift, I would have worked out okay.

  2. Funny thing is that I read this report and thought the fatality must’ve been someone in the barn. Did not read anywhere that there were two people in the airplane…

  3. C Gerker says:

    Why did the passenger die. This should have been a survivable crash. Apparently no post crash fire either. My father would have said the nut holding the stick was the problem.

  4. There are OLD pilots, and BOLD pilots, but there are NO OLD-BOLD pilots.

  5. The current administration will likely require barns to be kept full of soft hay from now on to cushion the impact of falling objects.

    • Richard Nichols says:

      Some wackadodles just cant resist a shot at the current administration no mater what the topic..Get a life

  6. If one could say that a stall (at any airspeed is possible aerodynamically) occurred in this crash, lot not to be said for overconfidence in that radial engine in the T-6…..just sayin’

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