NTSB Identification: CEN11LA582
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 20, 2011 in Kansas City, MO
Aircraft: VERTICAL UNLIMITED LLC 12, registration: N2BJ
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 20, 2011, at 1344 central daylight time, a Vertical Unlimited LLC model 12 airplane, N2BJ, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during an aerobatic air show performance at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC), Kansas City, Missouri. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Vertical Unlimited LLC and operated by the pilot. The aerobatic exhibition (air show) flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 and a Certificate of Waiver issued for the air show. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local exhibition flight originated from MKC about 1315.

The pilot was performing an aerobatic routine during the Kansas City Aviation Expo Air Show. A preliminary review of video of the accident routine indicated that the pilot appeared to have recovered from an inverted spin. The airplane began to pitch up when it abruptly rolled to the left. The nose dropped and it descended, impacting the ground. A postimpact fire ensued.

The accident pilot held an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with single and multi-engine land airplane ratings. He also held a current Acrobatic Competency card with a minimum altitude limitation of 250 feet above ground level (agl).

The accident airplane was a single-place, aerobatic biplane. It was issued an experimental exhibition category airworthiness certificate in March 2009. The airplane was reportedly a modified design based on the 2-place Pitts model 12 airplane. It was powered by a 412-horsepower modified Vedeneyev M14P radial 9-cylinder engine.

Weather conditions at MKC recorded about 6 minutes after the accident included: wind from 100 degrees at 3 knots; 10 miles visibility, with light rain; and scattered clouds at 10,000 feet agl.

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