Aircraft: Pitts S1D. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Port Richey, Fla. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: Several witnesses reported that the pilot was conducting aerobatic maneuvers over the Gulf of Mexico. He initiated a loop between 300 to 500 feet above the water.
At the top of the loop, while inverted, the airplane started the descent. The pilot did not have sufficient altitude to recover and the airplane hit the water in a nose-down, left-wing-low attitude.
There was no noticeable change in engine noise during the accident sequence.
Examination of the airframe, flight controls, engine assembly and accessories revealed no anomalies.
According to the operating rules section of 14 Code of Federal Regustions Part 91, which defines the restrictions on aerobatics, no person may operate an aircraft in aerobatic flight below an altitude of 1,500 feet above the surface.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to conduct aerobatic flight at a low altitude, which resulted in a collision with the water.
NTSB Identification: ERA12FA345
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.