NTSB Identification: ERA14FA256
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 25, 2014 in Newton, NC
Aircraft: STOLP STARDUSTER SA 300, registration: N4493
Injuries: 1 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 May 25, 2014, about 2005 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Stolp Starduster SA-300, N4493, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged when it impacted a wheat field, while maneuvering near Newton, North Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight originated from Laneys Airport (N92), Maiden, North Carolina, about 1945.

The airplane was based at N92. According to a flight instructor, prior to the accident flight, the pilot had been attempting to teach himself aerobatics in the accident airplane. The flight instructor encouraged the pilot to receive formal training, but the pilot preferred to fly his own airplane. The flight instructor agreed on one occasion to provide training in the pilot's airplane. They performed steep turns, stalls, and slow flight uneventfully. They then performed several spins, including power on, power off, and accelerated spin entries; however, the pilot's knowledge and skill level were not quite adequate and the flight instructor terminated the spin training early. Additionally, the flight instructor noticed some deficiencies with the airplane during landing, and advised the pilot not to fly it until repairs could be completed. The pilot subsequently contacted the flight instructor on two more occasions and requested more training. The flight instructor agreed to the training, under the condition that the training be completed in his Decathlon, a condition which the pilot would not agree to.

Three witnesses, who lived near the accident site, observed the airplane in level flight when the engine noise decreased and it entered a spin. The airplane continued to spin and descended toward the ground. One witness stated that the prior entering to the spin, the airplane performed a "few tricks" and several aerodynamic stalls. A second witness stated that the airplane stopped spinning about 300 feet above the ground, but continued to nose dive straight to the ground. The third witness recorded a video of the accident sequence and a copy was forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, D.C., for further review.

The airplane came to rest in a flat, upright attitude, on a magnetic heading about 130 degrees. The bi-wing had partially separated from the fuselage and was canted forward. The left and right ailerons remained attached to their respective upper and lower wings. The empennage remained intact and exhibited little damage while the cockpit was crushed. The forward fuselage fuel tank was compromised and an odor of fuel was present. The engine remained partially attached to the fuselage. Further examination of the wreckage was planned following recovery.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration third-class medical certificate was issued on November 6, 2013. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 115 hours.

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