NTSB Identification: CEN12LA227
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 04, 2012 in Breckenridge, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/11/2014
Aircraft: GRUMMAN F8F-1, registration: N14HP
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A witness to the accident reported that the pilot announced over the radio that he was going to perform a half Cuban eight aerobatic maneuver after takeoff and then overfly the runway in the opposite direction. The witness stated that, after takeoff, the airplane entered a shallow climb to about 150 feet before it pitched up into a near vertical climb. The airplane continued the climb in an inside loop before leveling out, inverted, about 500 feet above the runway, heading in the opposite direction of the takeoff. The witness then saw the airplane's wings roll suddenly before the airplane entered a near-vertical descent. The witness described the final portion of the aerobatic maneuver as a split-S maneuver, or a descending half loop, from which the airplane did not recover before colliding with trees and terrain on a southeasterly heading. The witness stated that the airplane exploded on impact and that a postimpact fire ensued. The postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot reportedly was as an experienced aerobatic pilot who had routinely performed at airshows throughout his flying career. The pilot's medical history included coronary artery and peripheral vascular disease, cataract surgery, and hypothyroidism. The autopsy was limited by the absence of most of the cardiac tissue; therefore, it could not be determined if the pilot was impaired or incapacitated by an acute coronary event during the low-altitude aerobatic maneuver.

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

The pilot's loss of airplane control during a low-altitude aerobatic maneuver.

Full narrative available

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