NTSB Identification: WPR12FA421
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 14, 2012 in Reno, NV
Aircraft: FREDERICK F 1, registration: N158CF
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 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.

On September 14, 2012, about 1219 Pacific daylight time, a Frederick F1, N158CF, was substantially damaged following an in-flight failure of the left elevator while maneuvering near the Reno Stead Airport (RTS), Reno, Nevada. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as Race 12. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the air race flight. The local flight originated from RTS about 1211.

In a written statement to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that at 180 indicated airspeed, the pace plane released them to enter the race course. Shortly after, a vibration began at an unknown airspeed and increased to a heavy flutter event. The pilot stated that he pitched upwards and slowed the airspeed. As the airspeed decreased below 90 knots indicated airspeed, the vibration stopped. The pilot landed on runway 14 uneventfully.

Examination of the airplane by the NTSB IIC revealed the left elevator and trim tab were structurally damaged. No additional damage was noted. The left elevator assembly (including the left trim tab) was retained and subsequently shipped to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC. for further examination.

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