NTSB Identification: DEN01FA152.
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Accident occurred Friday, August 24, 2001 in Raton, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/20/2002
Aircraft: North American SNJ-5, registration: N2686D
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.
Pilot-witnesses said the pilot was performing low-level aerobatics. As he pulled up into a near-vertical attitude he radioed, "My engine just quit." Smoke was seen coming from the engine cowling. The airplane appeared to do a tail slide, then it rolled left and nosed over. Witnesses surmised that the airplane stalled with insufficient altitude to recover. It struck the ground in a left wing-low, nose-low attitude. Wreckage was spread in a fan-shaped pattern. The pilot's wife (and his aerobatic partner) believed he was making a "yo-yo turn...essentially, a steep wingover." To test her theory, she later flew her airplane and performed several of these maneuvers. She found that she could cause the engine to quit by pulling up steeply, then pushing over into a dive for several seconds. Power would suddenly surge to 2,500 rpm. The pilot's wife surmised that the engine failed when he pulled up. As he recovered, the engine regained power and surged, and the resultant torque caused the airplane to roll. No anomalies were noted during the engine disassembly and inspection.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: a nonmechanical total loss of engine power for undetermined reasons while performing an aerobatic maneuver, and an inadvertent stall. A contributing factor was the insuffieient altitude to effect a safe recovery. Full narrative available
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