NTSB Identification: LAX98FA022.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 25, 1997 in CASTAIC, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/09/1999
Aircraft: Extra Flugzeugbau EA-300, registration: N69BW
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 held a low altitude aerobatic waiver issued by the FAA and was demonstrating the aircraft to the second pilot. The accident site is in a designated aerobatic practice area, which has a floor of 1,500 feet agl. Radar data showed returns from a VFR aircraft maneuvering between 1,900 and 3,400 feet agl near the location and time of the accident. The minimum altitude of radar coverage in the area is approximately 2,100 feet agl. Two witnesses thought they were observing a radio controlled model aircraft from their car. The aerobatic aircraft performed a loop and then pulled up into vertical flight. The aircraft stopped pointing straight up, the nose dropped, and then the aircraft entered a nose down, right-hand spiral that continued for 8 to 20 seconds until the aircraft disappeared from sight behind an orchard. One witness reported that the aircraft was 'not up where planes normally fly, it was lower.' The aircraft impacted a dirt road in near vertical, nose down attitude with no evidence of rotation. An aerobatic maneuver sequence card was found in the wreckage; the first three maneuvers were a loop, followed by a hammerhead turn, and then an Immelman. Extensive reconstruction of the aircraft showed no evidence of preimpact failure of the aircraft or flight control system.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the aircraft during an aerobatic maneuver.

Full narrative available

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