NTSB Identification: LAX98LA295.
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Accident occurred Thursday, September 17, 1998 in RENO, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2000
Aircraft: Hughes Cassutt 111M2, registration: N94HA
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.

At the conclusion of an International Formula One (IF1) heat race at the Reno National Championship Air Races, four racers queued for landing. Winds were from 240 degrees at 17 knots gusting to 25 knots. Two airplanes landed successfully. A third airplane on final was closing on the airplane ahead and the pilot elected to do a left 360-degree turn and reenter the landing pattern. The fourth airplane was just turning onto the base leg at this time. Witnesses stated this airplane started a turn to the right and the nose of the airplane went up. This was followed by an immediate roll and entry into a nearly vertical, rolling dive. The airplane came to rest in the back yard of a residence. The pilot of the third airplane reported no adverse wind conditions on his base leg, but winds on base to final were gusty and the ride was bumpy. IF1 technicians under the supervision of the Federal Aviation Administration investigator found no discrepancies with the airframe or engine during a postaccident examination.

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

the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed margin while maneuvering in gusty wind conditions, which led to an inadvertent stall/spin at low altitude.

Full narrative available

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