NTSB Identification: FTW02FA112.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 04, 2002 in Uvalde, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2004
Aircraft: North American T-28B, registration: N13RW
Injuries: 1 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.

After a normal ground run-up and take off, the vintage T-28B airplane, flown by a 3,500-hour airline tranport rated pilot, impacted terrain following a loss of control after performing a downwind departure and climbing to an altitude of 800-1,000 feet agl. Several witnesses who observed takeoff sequence did not notice any abnormalities or abnormal sounds from the aircraft. One of the witnesses reported that the aircraft made a left turn with a "normal" climb out to downwind, and that the engine sounded normal. The aircraft appeared "stable" in the climb and was parallel to the runway approximately 800-1,000 feet above ground level (agl) on the downwind departure. The aircraft then entered a left turn, and just as the turn was completed, the aircraft "did one to one and one-half barrel rolls in level flight." Then, while inverted, the aircraft "tucked under and went straight down." Another witness reported that as the aircraft turned, the aircraft "rolled over and flew inverted for about two seconds," then "flew nose first into the ground." No radio transmissions or distress calls were received from the accident aircraft. Logbooks for the aircraft were not recovered. Prior to the accident, the aircraft had been stored in a hangar that was operated by a aviation museum on airport property, and had not been flown for several months prior to the morning of the accident. According to a family member and airport personnel, access to the hangar was not controlled, and that the general public could come in to look at the aircraft. The wreckage debris was severely fragmented and was distributed over an area approximately 110 feet long and 75 feet wide, in a general north-to-south orientation. Evidence of an extensive ground fire was observed surrounding the debris, and mostly all of the wreckage debris was found within the boundaries of the fire area. The main portion of the wreckage, which included the engine, propeller, both wings, and fractured fuselage structure was found in a shallow crater in the southern-most area of the scattered debris. The orientation of the engine and forward section of the fuselage within the crater exhibited evidence that the aircraft impacted the ground in a nose-low, inverted attitude. The 3-blade propeller exhibited evidence of rotation at the time of impact. Mostly all of the wreckage within and adjacent to the impact point was consumed by post-impact fire. Due to the extensive impact and fire damage, flight control continuity could not be established from the cockpit outboard to the wings, however, flight control cables and push/pull rods that were observed appeared to be damaged as a result of impact. Flight control cables, rods, and bell cranks within the empennage rearward to the horizontal stabilizer, elevators, and rudder did not reveal pre-impact anomalies. Several pieces of flight control surfaces, flaps, and wing skin material were found north of the impact crater, and appeared to have been "blown back" during the impact sequence. The landing gear was found in the retracted position. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies.

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 for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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