NTSB Identification: CEN11FA437
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 02, 2011 in Hayti, SD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/14/2014
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 7GCBC, registration: N711AT
Injuries: 3 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 airplane collided with power lines while the pilot was intentionally flying at a low altitude. According to recovered GPS data, the majority of the accident flight was flown at less than 200 feet above ground level (agl). The final minute of recorded GPS data showed the airplane in a descending right turn to an easterly heading at a descent rate of 90 to 100 feet per minute and an average ground speed of 110 knots. The final data point was at an altitude of 50 feet agl as the airplane crossed over the road where the power lines were located. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. One of the propeller blades had indentations along its leading edge that had the same diameter and profile as the power lines found entangled with the airframe. The airplane was equipped with tandem seating intended for two individuals. The pilot was found in the front seat, and two 11-year-old children occupied the rear seat. Although the rear seat could accommodate two smaller individuals, it was only equipped with one restraint, and it could not be determined if both children were sharing the restraint at the time of the accident.

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

The pilot's decision to attempt low-altitude flight and his failure to maintain adequate clearance from power lines.

Full narrative available

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