NTSB Identification: NYC97LA121.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 09, 1997 in GILBERTSVILLE, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/1998
Aircraft: Robbins KOLB FIRESTAR, registration: NONE
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The noncertificated operator/owner of the unregistered ultralight and a passenger departed on a local flight. They had planned to fly over a shopping center, and the passenger stated that they liked to 'fly low and wave at people on the ground. When they arrived at the shopping center, they flew over it 'just above building height.' Witnesses observed two ultralights making low passes over the shopping center. The accident ultralight was observed to turn towards a tethered blimp. The ultralight then banked about 90 degrees away from the blimp, descended, and struck the ground. The ultralight remained intact and the engine continued to operate until impact. There were no maintenance records for the vehicle that was equipped with a single set of flight controls. The FAA Inspector classified the vehicle as a homebuilt airplane due to the dual seats, 10 gallon fuel capacity, and his estimate that the vehicle weight was 300 pounds. The operator had based the ultralight at a licensed airport for about 3 years. FAA records indicated that 24 surveillance's had been conducted at the airport during the previous 24 months, and that no ultralights had been observed or inspected for compliance with Part 103.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The noncertificated operator's improper decision to fly low over a congested area, which resulted in an abrupt maneuver to avoid a collision with a tethered blimp, and the subsequent uncontrolled descent and collision with terrain. Full narrative available
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