NTSB Identification: ERA10FA342
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 02, 2010 in Destin, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/20/2011
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN AT-6, registration: N92778
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 pilot was giving airplane rides to his family members when the accident occurred. Witness interviews and global positioning system (GPS) data revealed that the pilot was performing lazy-eights, over water, about 1 mile south of the beach. The airplane descended to an altitude of 355 feet, reversed course from east to west with its "smoke on," and increased groundspeed to 184 knots. The airplane then climbed to about 1,200 feet and completed three lazy-eight turns. During the third turn, at an altitude of 1,254 feet, the airplane's groundspeed slowed to 66 knots. The airplane stalled and completed a one-half turn spin. The pilot recovered from the spin and was in the process of recovering from the ensuing dive, when the airplane impacted the water. Two of the witnesses were experienced in the accident airplane make and model. They were surprised that the pilot was performing maneuvers low over the water, as the water did not provide any ground reference with regard to altitude, position, or horizon. They also expected the airplane to be about 3,000 feet, while maneuvering, as that make and model airplane needed "significant altitude" to recover from a stall or spin. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and spin. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's improper decision to perform the maneuvers at a low altitude and over water.

Full narrative available

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