NTSB Identification: ERA11FA468A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 20, 2011 in Hammonton, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: MITCHELL DAVID N LANCAIR IV P, registration: N71DM
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
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 Lancair pilot told a witness that he was going to fly the high-performance airplane to a nearby airport to visit a friend. The pilot was aware that the nearby airport had occasional aerobatic activity near the runway, within an "aerobatic box." The box was active on the day of the accident, with a Notice to Airmen issued for aerobatic activity at 3,500 feet and below. The airplane approached the airport about 3,500 feet; however, the exact altitude could not be determined due to the fidelity of the radar/encoder data. As the airplane approached the airport at a high airspeed, likely about 190 knots, it collided with an aerobatic airplane that had just completed a hammerhead stall and was observed in a dive. The pilot's airplane cut through the aerobatic airplane's fuselage just aft of the cockpit, top to bottom, and lost about 4 feet of its left wing. The pilot's airplane then crashed into nearby woods, and the pilot of the aerobatic airplane parachuted into the same woods.
The aerobatic pilot and an observer stated that clearing turns were conducted prior to the aerobatic maneuver. However, the sun’s position and the airspeed of the oncoming airplane would have made it highly unlikely that the aerobatic pilot would have seen it. It is unknown what the inbound pilot's intentions were at the time of the accident. A relative of the inbound pilot, another pilot who had flown with him often, surmised that the pilot's approach to the airport at such a high altitude may have been an exploratory overflight, which is supported by the airplane's high airspeed at the time. Radar indicated that the pilot's airplane did not perform any standoff maneuvering prior to approaching the airport, and other pilots in the air at the time heard no advisory radio transmissions from him. During flight in visual meteorological conditions, the tenets of "see and avoid" apply. With the inbound pilot's knowledge of potential aerobatic activity at the airport, it is not known why he did not use advocated collision avoidance strategies.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The Lancair pilot's failure to see and avoid the aerobatic airplane. Contributing to the accident was the Lancair pilot's inadequate use of collision avoidance strategies while inbound to an area of known potential aerobatic activity. Full narrative available
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