This May 2009 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: Champion 7GCBC. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Surrey, N.D. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The commercial pilot, who described himself as a self-employed farmer/aerial applicator, had logged more than 5,145 hours, with 556 hours flown during the previous six months. On the day of the accident, witnesses saw the airplane circling a house and flying at a low altitude along a row of trees. The airplane turned right, pitched upwards and then dove into the trees and crashed.
The post-accident examination did not reveal any mechanical issues. The pilot had recently started taking Prozac, a prescription antidepressant. The medication was unlikely to have resulted in substantial impairment, but the condition for which the medication was prescribed could not be determined.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during an abrupt pull-up maneuver, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall at low altitude.
For more information: NTSB.Gov