The Raven departed its home airport for a local flight near Mattituck, N.Y.
Radar data indicated that, about nine minutes after departure, the airplane was at 7,400 feet mean sea level (msl) and had begun a left 270° turn. The last radar return, which was recorded about a minute later, showed the airplane about 1,100 feet msl, which correlates to an approximate 6,000 foot-per-minute descent.
The airplane was found the following day floating on top of the water in a sound and was subsequently recovered.
The pilot’s parachute pack was found deployed and partially wrapped around the propeller. The airplane’s canopy was not present, however it was located several weeks later floating in the water.
A post-accident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any mechanical failure or anomaly that would have precluded normal operation.
The airplane’s calculated center of gravity (CG) was about 3 inches beyond the aft CG limit, which likely induced longitudinal instability and led to a subsequent deep, unrecoverable stall.
The canopy examination and the condition of the parachute pack indicated that the canopy was likely opened in flight. Therefore, the pilot likely recognized that the stall was unrecoverable and attempted to bail out of the airplane, but was unsuccessful.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s failure to ensure that the airplane was loaded within its calculated center of gravity limits, which resulted in longitudinal instability and a subsequent unrecoverable stall.
NTSB Identification: ERA14LA330
This July 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.