NTSB Identification: CEN10LA275
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 29, 2010 in Watertown, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2012
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7GCBC, registration: N88399
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.
A witness reported that he initially thought the pilot was inbound for landing. However, the airplane proceeded southwest of the airport and began making erratic banks and turns. He estimated that the airplane’s bank angles reached 80 to 90 degrees at times. Just prior to the accident, the pilot appeared to make a steep turn akin to an agriculture-type operation. He noted that the airplane pitched up, turned to the right, and preceded straight down, impacting the ground. Another witness reported that the airplane was making erratic maneuvers about 300 to 500 feet above ground level. The airplane impacted an open field about 0.5 mile southwest of the airport. A postaccident examination of the engine and airframe did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction. The toxicology testing report stated that the pilot's blood alcohol level was 144 mg/dL (0.144 percent by weight). A review of the pilot's background revealed two prior convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol. These were reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the pilot's medical certificate application. The FAA subsequently required the pilot to provide court and driving records, in addition to an evaluation by a certified substance abuse specialist in support of his application. The pilot further submitted drug screen results that indicated a negative finding. The FAA subsequently affirmed the pilot's eligibility for a third-class medical certificate and cautioned the pilot that further alcohol related offenses may result in denial of medical certification. Regulations prohibit any person from piloting an aircraft while having a blood alcohol level greater than 0.04 by weight.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's loss of airplane control while conducting aerobatic, low-altitude maneuvers. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairmant due to alcohol. Full narrative available
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