NTSB Identification: LAX97FA259.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 27, 1997 in BULLHEAD CITY, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/13/1998
Aircraft: Piper J3C-85, registration: N3339N
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 pilot was selling rides in a vintage Piper J3, which was equipped with floats and was being operated from the Colorado River. He was operating from an island in the river next to a residential area. Witnesses reported that the plane had been flying up and down the river at 40 to 50 feet. They said that the pilot would reverse course by pulling the nose up, turning 180 degrees, then leveling out just above the water. During a course reversal at low altitude, the airplane descended into the river. Warm temperatures and gusty winds were reported.

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

improper judgement of the pilot by intentionally performing low level maneuvers, and his misjudgment of a level-off over water.

Full narrative available

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