NTSB Identification: LAX94LA194.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 17, 1994 in KAHUKU, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/1995
Aircraft: PITTS S-2A, registration: N54TA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

A PITTS S-2A COLLIDED WITH THE SURFACE OF THE OCEAN DURING AN ACROBATIC DISPLAY. THE PILOT WAS PERFORMING A WEEKLY AIR SHOW FOR GUESTS OF A WATERFRONT HOTEL. THE AIRPLANE WAS DOING SLOW ROLLS ALONG THE SHORELINE AT AN ALTITUDE OF 200 TO 300 FEET. AFTER COMPLETING TWO ROLLS, THE AIRPLANE SLOWLY ROLLED INVERTED AND DESCENDED INTO THE WATER IN AN ARCING FLIGHT PATH. THE AIRPLANE'S ENGINE WAS HEARD TO ACCELERATE SECONDS BEFORE HITTING THE WATER. THERE WERE NO REPORTS OF MECHANICAL FAILURE OR MALFUNCTIONS BY WITNESSES. THE PRESIDENT OF THE COMPANY THAT EMPLOYED THE PILOT INDICATED THAT IN THE PAST HE HAD TALKED TO THE PILOT ABOUT THE ACROBATIC MANEUVERS IN THE SHOW. ACCORDING TO THE PRESIDENT, THE PILOT HAD STATED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS THAT, 'YOU SHOULD NEVER DO MORE THAN 2 ROLLS AT A TIME BECAUSE YOU WOULD BECOME TOO EASILY DISORIENTED.'

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

THE FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO MAINTAIN AIRCRAFT CONTROL DUE TO SPATIAL DISORIENTATION WHILE PERFORMING AN ACROBATIC ROUTINE. A FACTOR IN THE ACCIDENT WAS THE LOW ALTITUDE AT WHICH THE PILOT WAS PERFORMING THE ACROBATIC MANEUVERS.

Full narrative available

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