The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger departed on a local flight with the intention of performing aerobatic maneuvers.
According to a witness near the accident site in Fairmont, Oklahoma, the Skybolt 300 flew over at a high altitude and performed a barrel roll. It continued south and then pitched up to climb straight up. The nose of the airplane came down through the horizon and the airplane started “tumbling.”
He said that about 1/3 of the way through the tumble the airplane rolled over on its back and entered an inverted flat spin.
Damage to the airplane and witness marks on the ground were consistent with the airplane hitting the ground in an inverted, nose low attitude. Both souls aboard died in the crash.
The witness did not see the final seconds of the flight and it is unknown if or when the pilot may have initiated a recovery from the intentional maneuver. It is likely that the pilot waited too long to recover from the aerobatic maneuver.
Probable cause: The pilot’s delay in recovering from an aerobatic maneuver, resulting in collision with terrain.
NTSB Identification: CEN16FA278
This July 2016 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.