NTSB Identification: LAX00LA315A
Accident occurred Sunday, August 27, 2000 in WESTMINISTER, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/01/2001
Aircraft: Pitts S1S, registration: N9PJ
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplanes collided in-flight as the Pitts maneuvered from behind to in front of the Cessna. The pilots stated they were flying each other's airplane. The pilots established radio and visual contact with each other. The Pitts assumed a trail position behind the Cessna. The Pitts varied its distance and position relative to the Cessna. Cruise altitude was about 1,000 feet. The Cessna turned left and began a gradual climb to 1,500 feet. About 1,400 feet, the Pitts pilot advised the Cessna pilot to hold still and the Cessna pilot acknowledged. The Cessna pilot leveled off and held his course. He knew from their years of flying together that the Pitts pilot would come below him. As the Pitts maneuvered from behind to in front of the Cessna, the Cessna's propeller severed the top half of the Pitts' vertical stabilizer and rudder. The Cessna's damaged propeller set up a vibration. The Pitts pilot maintained control of his airplane. The pilots discussed their options and elected to divert to Fullerton. They advised the tower of their situation and asked for emergency equipment to be on hand. The Cessna pilot landed first, and the Pitts pilot evaluated the amount of control available. After the emergency equipment arrived, the Pitts landed uneventfully.

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

The pilot of the Pitts misjudged the clearance while maneuvering under the Cessna.

Full narrative available

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