NTSB Identification: SEA97FA049.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 19, 1997 in CRESWELL, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/13/1998
Aircraft: Champion 7-GCBC, registration: N9677S
Injuries: 2 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 7-GCBC Champion was observed engaged in repeated spin maneuvers. A witness reported observing that 'the plane was heading straight down spinning clockwise again' and 'was close to the elevation where it pulled out the first time. (That's) when I saw a piece of the plane come off.' This was the pilot's fifth flight since checking out in the aircraft (3.4 hours total flight time). According to witnesses, spins were conducted on all five flights. Postcrash examination revealed that the outboard right wing tip cap and some attached wing fabric had separated from the aircraft during flight. The examination also revealed that the forward and aft right wing spar structure were at the ground impact site of the fuselage. The right wing forward spar displayed upwards bending deformation and splintering just outboard of the forward wing strut attach point. NTSB records indicated the aircraft had been involved in an accident on 6/13/77 in Alaska; however, no aircraft records could be located to ascertain the extent of the damage, if any, to the right wing. An examination of the right wing spar structure revealed that it was within dimensional tolerances set by the manufacturer.

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

the pilot exceeded the design stress limits of the aircraft, while recovering from a spin, which resulted in failure and separation of the right wing tip and adjacent wing fabric (skin).

Full narrative available

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