The ATP-rated pilot, who had logged 19,275 hours, including 178 in the Skybolt, an aerobatic biplane, decided to do some low altitude aerobatic maneuvers near Windsor, N.C.
After takeoff, he did two fly-bys along the runway, then pulled up to between 300 and 500 feet AGL and performed a wingover maneuver, although federal regulations prohibit aerobatic maneuvers below 1,500 feel AGL.
According to the pilot, at the bottom of the wingover, he noticed that the engine did not respond when he advanced the throttle and the rpm was decreasing. The airplane came down hard in a field.
The crush and compression damage to the lower left wing was consistent with the airplane incurring a high-G impact.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s decision to initiate an aerobatic maneuver with insufficient altitude to recover before ground impact.
NTSB Identification: ERA13LA238
This May 2013 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.