NTSB Identification: ERA10LA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 15, 2010 in Jensen Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2011
Aircraft: AEROSTAR S A YAK-52, registration: N6868Y
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.

After takeoff from a nearby airport, the pilot of the accident airplane commenced a series of aerobatic maneuvers at low altitude along a beach. Witnesses observed the airplane flying along the beach about 100 yards offshore in a northerly direction, descending from approximately 300 feet to approximately 50 feet above the water. It next entered a very abrupt and steep turn to the northeast, then went straight up while continuing to turn until it rolled out on a westerly heading toward a cluster of condominiums that lined the beach. The airplane once again made a sharp turn to the right (northbound), then pitched up sharply until it was upside down. It then pitched down, rolled about its longitudinal axis, and impacted the water nose first.

A postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact failure or malfunction of the airplane or engine. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the International Aerobatic Club consider the minimum altitude for aerobatic maneuvers to be 1,500 feet, which the pilot was well below when he commenced the maneuvers. Examination of a landing gear down light bulb revealed filament stretching, which indicated that the light bulb was energized prior to the airplane's impact with the water. Review of photographs taken of the airplane a few minutes prior to the accident and moments before it impacted the water, confirmed that the landing gear was extended. Review of the airplane’s pilot operating handbook revealed that the landing gear was supposed to be raised after takeoff and that the pilot was supposed to check for a landing gear up indication. The extended landing gear would have affected the airplane's performance and would have made the airplane slower to respond to the pilot's inputs. This, in combination with his decision to commence the aerobatic maneuvers at low altitude, resulted in his inability to recover prior to impacting the water.

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

The pilot's decision to perform an aerobatic maneuver at a low altitude, which resulted in insufficient clearance from the water to conduct a recovery. Contributing to the accident was the airplane’s extended landing gear, which resulted in a degradation of the airplane's performance.

Full narrative available

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