NTSB Identification: WPR11FA225
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in Hanalei, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/2012
Aircraft: P&M AVIATION LTD PEGASUS QUIK 912S, registration: N705PM
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 sport pilot flight instructor was giving an introductory instructional flight in a light sport weight-shift-control aircraft. Review of video recorded by two video cameras attached to the aircraft indicated that the takeoff and departure were uneventful with no observed difficulties with the aircraft’s airframe, wing, or engine. About 30 minutes into the flight, the video documented the instructor maneuvering the aircraft in the vicinity of the accident site. The video documentation stopped about 15 seconds before the accident due to data buffering time. However, witnesses observed the aircraft low over the water flying directly toward a scallop-shaped sandy beach surrounded on three sides by high rocky cliffs. The pilot was observed to fly the aircraft within 50 to 100 feet of the cliffs in a steep-bank, 180-degree turn. The witnesses said that the aircraft's bank angle increased to nearly 90 degrees, and the aircraft began to descend rapidly in a side-slip. As the aircraft completed its turn about 200 feet above ground level, and with its nose pointed steeply downward, the pilot was observed to push aggressively forward on the flight controls, and a loud “pop” was heard. One witness observed the right wing's fabric go slack, and the aircraft performed a complete barrel roll to the right. Moments later the aircraft impacted the ocean.

Postaccident examination of the wreckage found numerous holes torn in the wing fabric and several repair patches were identified on the fabric. Testing with a Bettsometer fabric tester determined that the fabric had deteriorated due to exposure to sunlight and that its strength was below the manufacturer’s recommendations for flight. A manufacturer’s representative stated that the pilot had contacted him several weeks before the accident and ordered a new replacement wing, which indicates that the pilot was aware of the fabric’s deteriorated condition.

The maximum takeoff gross weight for the aircraft was 903 pounds. An estimate of the aircraft's weight at takeoff indicated that it was about 121 pounds overweight. This excess weight increased the load on the aircraft’s wing and likely contributed to the failure of the fabric.

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

The pilot's continued operation of the aircraft with deteriorated wing fabric and his aggressive maneuvering at low altitude, which resulted in the right wing fabric’s failure during flight. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's loading of the aircraft in excess of the maximum gross weight limit.

Full narrative available

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