NTSB Identification: WPR10FA211
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 21, 2010 in Captain Cook, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2011
Aircraft: AirBorne WindSport Edge XT-912-L, registration: N34TH
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight was an introductory flight lesson in a weight-shift-controlled aircraft. Witnesses reported that they observed the aircraft maneuver over the ocean and approach a 450-foot cliff at a 45-degree angle. As the aircraft came close to the cliff, it banked steeply away and rolled inverted. Witnesses reported hearing a loud “pop” and the wings folded around the fuselage (pod). The aircraft descended in a spiraling corkscrew-like manner before impacting the water. The aircraft immediately sank and was never recovered. The pilot likely exceeded the manufacturer’s operating limitations for the aircraft, which specifies a maximum pitch limit of 45 degrees and a maximum bank angle of 60 degrees. Positive flight load factors are limited to 4G and negative loads are prohibited; flight loads between positive 1G and 0G should be avoided. The pilot’s operating handbook cautioned that negative G maneuvers can never be conducted safely and stated that these maneuvers put the aircraft outside of the pilot’s control.

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

The pilot’s intentional in-flight maneuvers that exceeded the structural limits of the aircraft, which resulted in structural failure of the wings.

Full narrative available

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