NTSB Identification: LAX04LA163.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 17, 2004 in Reno, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Wallace Skybolt, registration: N41BB
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The aircraft broke up in flight while the pilot was executing an aerobatic outside loop maneuver. While inverted and pushing forward on the stick to about -2.5G to start the ascending part of the maneuver, the airplane began to vibrate violently. The pilot felt the vibration in the airframe, not in the stick or the rudder. He felt the vibration for 1 to 2 seconds, followed by the left wing of the airplane detaching from the airplane's structure. During the airplane's continued disintegration, the pilot was able to release his seat belt and exit the airplane. The pilot deployed his parachute, which opened just prior to his reaching the ground. The aircraft was destroyed by a post impact ground fire. The airplane was constructed out of wood in 1975 and, according to the accident airplane's records and the pilot's statement, it had been more than 20 years since the wings had undergone any extensive inspection, repair, or rebuild with the fabric removed.

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

Failure of the left wing spar during an aerobatic maneuver.

Full narrative available

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