NTSB Identification: ERA12CA019
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 22, 2011 in Manassas, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2012
Aircraft: AERONCA 7AC, registration: N4300E
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot, while approaching the destination airport, he entered the traffic pattern by crossing the runway about 850 feet above ground level (agl). He performed a "wing over," then turned back over the runway and began a turn to the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern. During the turn, the rudder "stuck," and the airplane entered a left spiraling descent. The pilot added full power, pushed the control stick forward, and attempted to apply right rudder. He attempted to dislodge the rudder by reaching for the passenger rudder pedal underneath and behind his seat but was unsuccessful. About 100 feet agl, the airplane exited from the spiral and continued to descend into the ground, where it came to rest inverted, sustaining substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. According to a witness, the airplane was about 400 feet agl when it entered a hard left turn and then a spin. After 1.5 revolutions, the airplane exited the spin and began to pull out of the resulting dive before it impacted the ground. Examination of the wreckage verified full freedom of movement of the rudder and rudder pedals. There was no evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

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

The pilot did not maintain adequate airspeed while turning to the downwind leg, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and spin.

Full narrative available

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