NTSB Identification: MIA99LA119.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, April 07, 1999 in ASTATULA, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2000
Aircraft: David C. Bock CHALLENGER II, registration: N929DB
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was performing Phase I flight testing of the homebuilt aircraft and investigating the upper flight envelope. While descending through 4,000 feet msl at a speed of 115-118 mph, the aircraft began to flutter. He reduced engine power and raised the nose at which time he heard a loud 'pop' noise. The aircraft went out of control, rolling to an inverted position. The pilot activated the aircraft's ballistic recovery parachute and the aircraft and pilot landed in an orange grove. Postcrash examination showed 2 fuselage longerons had fractured. The manufacturer had determined the never exceed speed (Vne) for the aircraft to be 120 mph.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The aircraft structure fluttering inflight resulting in fracture of fuselage longerons and the pilot being unable to maintain control.

Full narrative available

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