NTSB Identification: NYC96FA152.
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Accident occurred Thursday, July 18, 1996 in FARMINGDALE, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/29/1997
Aircraft: Champion 7GCBC, registration: N7557F
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 pilot of a Champion 7GCBC (Citabria) departed for a banner pickup. He was observed to miss on his first attempted pickup, and he maneuvered the airplane back for another pickup maneuver. At about the time of the pickup, the pilot of another airplane had just turned from crosswind to downwind. The pilot of the other airplane said that he looked and saw the Citabria impact the ground in a nose down and right wing low attitude. The airplane was found with the tow rope still attached, but the banner had never moved. The fuselage was crushed and the wings were bend down so that both wing tips touched the ground. Fuel was found in the fuel tanks and in a line leading to the engine. There was no evidence of a preimpact mechanical failure or malfunction of the airplane. The pilot had recently qualified as a banner tow pilot. Since becoming qualified, he had completed 12 banner pickups. His total flight time was 445 hours.

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

the pilot's improper handling of the airplane during a banner pickup maneuver, which resulted in a stall/mush and collision with the ground. A factor relating to the accident was: the pilot's lack of experience in the type of operation.

Full narrative available

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