This July 2008 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: Pitts Special. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Cleveland, Texas. Aircraft damage: Fatal.
What reportedly happened: According to witnesses, the 87-year-old private pilot was known for performing aerobatics shortly after takeoff. Shortly after rotation, the airplane went into a barrel roll. The pilot did not maintain altitude and the airplane crashed into trees. During the investigation, no anomalies were noted with the airframe or engine, but it was discovered that the pilot had not held a medical certificate for the past six years.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain control during his attempted performance of aerobatic maneuvers shortly after takeoff.
For more information: NTSB.gov