NTSB Identification: ERA09CA255
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 18, 2009 in Church Hill, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/28/2009
Aircraft: MARTIN EDWARD H FIRE STAR II, registration: N582EF
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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.

During final approach to a turf runway, the pilot of the amateur-built airplane noted that he was too high and the airspeed was 60 to 65 mph. He reduced engine power to descend, and was then distracted while viewing wildlife in a field below him. When the pilot looked back at the airspeed indicator, it displayed 40 mph. The airplane then "stalled" and the pilot felt the left wing drop. The airplane subsequently struck a fence and the nose impacted the ground. The airplane flipped over and came to rest short of the runway. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. A witness familiar with the accident airplane reported that its stall speed was in the "mid-30s." A weather observation taken 10 minutes after the accident, at an airport 14 nautical miles away, reported calm winds; however, the pilot recalled wind gusting from his left and from behind after impact. A witness recalled that it was sunny with thermal updrafts and downdrafts. The pilot had over 177 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed to avoid an aerodynamic stall during final approach.

Full narrative available

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