NTSB Identification: MIA97LA028.
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Accident occurred Saturday, November 23, 1996 in SOMERVILLE, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/1997
Aircraft: North American T28B, registration: N3178U
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 witness observed the airplane in aerobatic flight, above a private airstrip, which was less than a mile from the crash site. According to the witness, the airplane flew down the runway about 200 to 400 feet above the ground in straight and level flight. The witness said that he stepped inside for less then a minute, and when he returned outside, the airplane had crashed and was burning. This was a common area for this pilot and others to 'perform and practice low altitude maneuvers and aerobatics.' The area surrounding the accident site was level, but where the airplane first struck trees, the terrain was higher than most of the surrounding area. Based on witness accounts, there was evidence that the pilot miscalculated his altitude over the higher terrain, and that he was in 'inverted flight' before striking the trees. No discrepancies were found with the engine or airframe.

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

the pilot misjudged his altitude/clearance above trees on terrain that was higher than the surrounding terrain, while performing an aerobatic maneuver.

Full narrative available

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