NTSB Identification: FTW02LA125.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 18, 2002 in Claremore, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Howard Harder Skybolt, registration: N16HH
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.

After calling the Flight Service Station to check the winds and have the aerobatic box opened, the pilot instructed the lineman to add 5 gallons of fuel to the airplane's main tank. After fueling the pilot taxied to runway 17 and departed at 1010. At 1040 the pilot called in for the winds. The lineman advised him they were 180 degrees at 18 knots with gusts to 22 knots. The pilot then made another call, but the lineman didn't understand what he said. At 1045 the lineman attempted to contact the pilot to inform him that personnel would be on the runway doing repair work. The pilot did not respond. At 1050 the lineman was notified in person by a local resident that he had observed an airplane doing maneuvers, that it went behind a tree line and he didn't see it come back up. At 1052 the lineman began an aerial search, spotting the aircraft wreckage at 1054, approximately 1,000 feet northwest of the departure end of runway 17. One witness said he observed the airplane descending straight down from about 1,000 feet above the ground with the wings rotating clockwise, impacting the ground after it went out of sight behind a row of trees. A second witness said he saw the airplane headed downward in a steep angle, loop, float for 1 second, loop again, and then go straight down. A third witness said he saw a small two-wing airplane wobble in the air, then suddenly go into a loop, and then come down and disappear below a tree line. The pilot had been under treatment for frequent and severe headaches, and had been prescribed frequent narcotic medications and anti-migraine medications as primary treatments for the condition. The most recent prescriptions for narcotic medication and anti-migraine medication were filled 3 days prior to the accident. Post-accident toxicoloty testing revealed the presence of multiple medications, including two different prescription antidepressants detected in blood and a prescription anti-anxiety medication, metabolites of a different prescription anti-anxiety medication, and a prescription narcotic detected in urine. Examination of the airframe and engine, and their logbooks, did not reveal any pre-existing anomalies which would have prevented normal operations.

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

The failure of the pilot to maintain clearance with terrain for undetermined reasons while conducting aerobatic maneuvers. A factor contributing to the accident was the physical impairment of the pilot.

Full narrative available

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