NTSB Identification: ATL04LA128.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 08, 2004 in Mohawk, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/28/2004
Aircraft: Grover J3 Kitten, registration: NONE
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.
The non certificated pilot attempted VFR flight in a non-registered experimental airplane with known deficiencies in the right wing (broken ribs.) The airplane was observed by friends of the pilot performing aerobatic flight (hammerhead stalls) The trailing edge skin (fabric) was observed by the witnesses to separate from the back side of the wing. A decrease in power was heard by the witnesses and the airspeed of the airplane was observed to decrease. The right wing of the airplane dropped down, the nose pitched down as if the airplane was in a "stall." The airplane collided with the ground in a nose down attitude. Examination of the airplane revealed the wing fabric was glued and not stitched. The wing fabric had separated 3 feet outboard the wing root and extended outboard 4 feet. All ribs in the right wing were broken. No anomalies were noted with the flight controls. The Volkswagen engine assembly was not disassembled based on witness statements. The engine was removed and weighed. The engine assembly weighed 90 pounds. The aircraft empty weight authorized by 14 CFR Part 103.1 is 254 pounds. The empty weight of the airplane with the Volkswagen engine was 278 pounds. The airplane was required to be registered with the FAA in accordance with 14 CFR Part 47.3.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's decision to perform aerobatic flight in an airplane with known deficiencies that resulted in the in-flight separation of the airframe and the uncontrolled collision with the ground.
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