NTSB Identification: CEN10LA031
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 27, 2009 in Gaylord, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/22/2010
Aircraft: AERONCA 7AC, registration: N2239E
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.
Global positioning system (GPS) track data indicated that the flight proceeded in a meandering course to the northwest before turning southeast. The GPS track data depicted the airplane entering a descending right turn about 40 seconds prior to the accident. The turn continued through approximately 450 degrees – or 1-1/4 turns – until the final data point. Two off-duty state police troopers reported observing the airplane as they drove along an interstate highway. They stated that the airplane made several “abrupt” turns as low as 200 to 300 feet above the ground. At one point, the “plane’s wings were dipping slightly back and forth, as well as the tail of the plane was swaying slightly from side to side; however, the plane remained level and did not appear erratic.” The airplane completed another “very abrupt” right turn when “the nose dropped straight down and the plane rolled to the right and corkscrewed into the ground.” The airplane impacted a grassy area adjacent to the interstate. A post accident examination of the airplane did not reveal any anomalies related to a pre-impact failure. Damage to the flight control system was consistent with impact forces and emergency personnel's recovery efforts. GPS track data indicated that the average groundspeed between the final data points was approximately 44 knots. Airspeed indicator markings denoted the flaps up and flaps down power-off stall speeds as 49 knots and 42 knots, respectively. Local winds were calm to southeast at 4 knots. Digital photos taken during the flight depicted local terrain, marinas, cities and residences. The last photo was taken approximately 60 seconds prior to the accident. None of the photos appeared to depict any aircraft anomalies or pilot related issues.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during a low altitude turn resulting in an aerodynamic stall/spin and loss of control. Full narrative available
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