NTSB Identification: ERA09LA329
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 08, 2009 in Brevard, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/22/2010
Aircraft: SORENSON LIGHTNING, registration: N130DS
Injuries: 2 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 private pilot/owner of the experimental amateur-built airplane was conducting a training flight with a certified flight instructor (CFI). The airplane was in a left turn in the airport traffic pattern when its wings began to rock back and forth, which was followed by a steep uncontrolled descent. A witness reported the engine was "spitting and sputtering" and then lost power. The airplane struck an 80-foot-tall tree, about mid-span, before coming to rest inverted in a heavily wooded area, about 1/4 mile from the runway. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact malfunctions and evidence of fuel was present at the accident site. The airplane's most recent condition inspection was performed 17 months and 73 operational hours prior to the accident. The CFI previously reported 7,270 hours of total flight experience, and had accumulated about 70 hours in the accident airplane. At the time of the accident, the private pilot had accumulated about 260 hours of total flight experience, which included about 30 flight hours in the accident airplane. All 30 hours were flown with the CFI. The private pilot/owner had a history of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Toxicology testing indicated the use of a non-impairing prescription antidepressant and of marijuana, though the source of the specimens did not permit the assessment of whether he may have been impaired by the marijuana use. It is unclear whether the private pilot/owner was experiencing impairment from any cause, or whether his actions were relevant to the accident. Winds reported at a nearby airport were variable at 6 knots, gusting to 18 knots.

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

Both pilots failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering after a loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Full narrative available

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