A witness reported that the pilot made a radio transmission announcing his intention to perform a rolling maneuver in the RANS S10.
He and another witness stated that they then saw the airplane roll through an inverted position and then transition into a steep, high-speed dive.
The left wing separated from the fuselage and the airplane continued in a near-vertical descent until hitting the ground near the airport in Shepherd, Texas.
Post-accident examination revealed that the left front wing spar had fractured near the left wing root due to overload.
No records were found indicating that the non-certificated pilot had received dual flight instruction for aerobatics, and the pilot’s friend reported that he did not think that the pilot had ever received any aerobatic flight training.
A review of the pilot’s journal revealed that he had recently attempted solo aerobatics in the RANS S10, which resulted in high-speed spiral dives at airspeeds higher than the never exceed speed for the airplane. The pilot likely attempted an aerobatic maneuver that exceeded the airplane’s design limitations, which resulted in the subsequent in-flight breakup of the airplane.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s improper decision to attempt aerobatic maneuvers that exceeded the airplane’s design limitations, which resulted in the subsequent in-flight breakup of the airplane. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of aerobatic flight instruction.
NTSB Identification: CEN14FA140
This February 2014 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.