NTSB Identification: FTW97FA002.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, October 02, 1996 in MANZANOLA, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/05/1998
Aircraft: Bell EAA BIPLANE P, registration: N145DB
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.

Witnesses said the biplane flew over the farm airstrip at an estimated altitude of 300 to 400 feet. One witness stated that the pilot started 'what appeared to be an aileron roll, but stopped halfway and peeled off to the left in a shallow dive but didn't have enough altitude to pull out.' Another witness said that the pilot 'began rolling the aircraft right wing down about 3/4 of a roll then the front of the plane dropped' and disappeared from his view. The biplane struck the ground about 350 feet south of runway 27 on a westerly heading. Ground scars from impact were found over a 150 foot area. An investigation disclosed no evidence of a preimpact malfunction or failure of the airframe, flight controls, engine, or propeller. The 739-hour pilot had recently graduated from an aerial application school and was employed as a first season aerial applicator. He had previously flown the biplane three times and had an estimated 3.0 hours of flight time in this make/model of aircraft.

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

failure of the pilot to maintain sufficient altitude/clearance above the terrain, while performing a low altitude maneuver. A factor relating to the accident was the pilot's lack of familiarity with this make and model of aircraft.

Full narrative available

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