NTSB Identification: MIA05CA163.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 25, 2005 in Opa Locka, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-25-235, registration: N7788Z
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated he departed from the North Perry Airport and proceeded toward the Opa Locka Airport to pick up his first banner of the day. He noted thunderstorms in the area but their banner operations were still ongoing. Two of his coworkers picked up their banner before him. He deployed the hook and flew the pattern for the pick up. Upon approaching the poles, he applied full engine power and picked up the rope. He pulled up and upon the ground crew signaling that the banner is about to be lifted, he proceeded to lower the nose of the airplane, which was about 175 feet above the ground. At that point, instead of the usual leveling off, the airplane started to sink and upon picking up the banner, the sink rate accelerated rapidly. He waited about 2 seconds for things to normalize while ensuring all engine levers were in the full power position. The sink rate kept the same. By now he was sure that a hard landing was imminent so he released the banner and landed straight ahead.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed, during a banner pick up, resulting in a stall/mush and collision with terrain during the uncontrolled descent.

Full narrative available

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