NTSB Identification: CEN12FA628
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 12, 2012 in Bullard, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/13/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA-23-250, registration: N4842P
Injuries: 1 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 was en route to its destination when witnesses observed it making several turns before it pitched nose-up, climbed, rolled to the right, and then descended nose-down to the ground. Several witnesses observed airplane components floating to the ground behind the airplane. All witnesses reported hearing loud engine noises throughout the event. Impact signatures were consistent with a nose-down attitude with a near-vertical descent angle. Distribution of the airplane wreckage supported the observation by eyewitnesses of an in-flight breakup. An examination found that both wings failed in overload with positive wing loading. In addition, there was no evidence of flight control over-travel or flutter. It could not be determined whether the pilot intended to perform the abnormal maneuver that resulted in an overload of the airplane or if it was the result of a physiological issue.

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

The pilot's maneuver, which exceeded the airplane's structural limit and resulted in an in-flight breakup.

Full narrative available

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