NTSB Identification: MIA96FA185.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 15, 1996 in FAIRHOPE, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/1997
Aircraft: Champion AERONCA 7GCB, registration: N9908Y
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The passenger stated the pilot descended the aircraft toward the water, then entered a steep climb. The passenger then noticed the aircraft was descending in a near vertical descent toward the water, where it crashed. Witnesses observed the aircraft descending toward the water, then pull up into a steep climb. After reaching about 200 feet, the right wing and nose dropped, and the aircraft descended nose first until impact with the water. Other witnesses had observed the aircraft in wing-over maneuvers at a low altitude over the water on the day before. Friends of the passenger, who flew with the pilot the day before, stated he had been performing wing-over maneuvers close to the water. At the time of the accident, the aircraft was estimated to be 97 pounds over the maximum allowable gross weight. Postcrash examination of the aircraft showed no evidence pre-crash failure or malfunction of the aircraft structure, floats, flight controls, or engine.

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

failure of the pilot to maintain adequate airspeed, while manuevering at low altitude, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and uncontrolled impact with the water. The pilot's ostentatious display and the lack of altitude to recover from a stall were related factors.

Full narrative available

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