NTSB Identification: ERA12FA565
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 16, 2012 in Brownsboro, AL
Aircraft: YAKOVLEV YAK 52, registration: N2207X
Injuries: 2 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 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 16, 2012, about 1515 central daylight time, an experimental, Yakovlev Yak-52, N2207X, registered to Matrushka LLC and operated by an individual, sustained substantial damaged from ground impact at Moontown Airport (3M5), Brownsboro, Alabama. The pilot and the student pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91, personal flight. The flight originated from 3M5, about 1450.

The airport was having a fly in event that day. Several witnesses observed three Yak-52 airplanes flying from west to east in a trailing formation, each slightly lower than the one in front. When they were southeast of the airport, the lead airplane performed a barrel row, followed by the second airplane in the formation. When the third airplane performed the barrel row, as the airplane reached the wings level attitude, the nose of the airplane was in a high pitch angle. The airplane began to descend in that nose high attitude. Then the airplane’s nose dropped below the horizon and it was lost from sight behind the trees that separated the open field and the airport’s grass runway. A loud impact noise was heard and smoke was seen immediately rising behind the trees.

The pilot, age 74, held a Federal Aviation Administration private pilot certificate with rating for airplane single engine land and airplane instrument. He was issued a second-class medical certificate on February 29, 2012, with limitations. A review of the pilot’s flight logbooks shows he documented a total time of 6,150 flight hours.

The Yakovlev Yak-52 was manufactured in the Soviet Union in 1982 and was issued a Federal Aviation Administration experimental airworthiness certificate in the exhibition category in November of 1999. The two place, low wing, metal construction airplane was powered by a 360 horsepower, Vedeneyev, M14P, 9-cylinder radial engine, and equipped with a two-bladed counter-clockwise rotating, variable pitch, wood and fiberglass laminated propeller.

The airplane’s energy path at the accident site was on an estimated 90-degree heading. The airplane’s initial collision was with the ground at an elevation of 686 feet mean sea level, which made a three foot in diameter crater that was two feet deep. One of the two wooden propeller blades was embedded into the ground at that location. The engine, along with its cowling, separated from the airframe and came to rest about 50 feet along the energy path from the crater. The propeller hub assembly remained attached to the engine minus the propeller blades. A section of the left outboard wing was located about 90 feet along the energy path from the crater. The main wreckage came to rest about 150 feet from the crater on an estimated 290-degree heading. Remnants of both wing’s flight control surfaces, engine parts, nose gear, right main gear, and canopy debris were located along the crash energy path.

The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, wings, and empennage with its flight control surfaces. From the engine firewall to the rear cockpit area sustained thermal damage from the post impact fire that ensued. Some instrument panel components and the wing’s cross spar beam were discernible among the melted metal. The right wing was intact with impact damage to the leading edge and thermal damage near the wing root area. The left wing was separated from the wing root area and bent back to the fuselage. The left main gear remained attached to the wing. The empennage areas sustained impact damage and the fabric covered flight control surfaces had thermal damage.

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