HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On June 11, 1994, at 1315 eastern standard time, a Canadair T-33, N12418, piloted by the Airline Transport certificated owner, crashed after it dragged a wing tip during a high speed roll maneuver during an air show performance at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemens, Michigan. The airplane was destroyed by ground impact and postimpact fire. The pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, no flight plan was filed. The flight operated under 14 CFR Part 91, and originated from Mount Clemens, Michigan about 1310.
Witnesses reported the airplane looked normal during taxi, takeoff and initial climb. They stated the pilot departed to the north, completed a 180 degree turn, and came back for a low pass down Runway 19. As the airplane neared show center on the low pass, witnesses observed a slight pitch up, followed by a left roll. The witnesses agreed the airplane seemed to descend throughout the roll maneuver, then impacted the ground right wing first and exploded.
Air show records indicate the pilot's original intention was to perform the high speed low pass without a roll. Discussions with the pilot's crew and other air show performers revealed the pilot sometimes strayed from his stated flight plan, and occasionally incorporated a roll into the low pass maneuver.
The pilot held Airline Transport Pilot Certificate #1333362, with airplane single and multiengine land privileges, issued November 27, 1978. He also held a Second Class Medical Certificate, dated February 28, 1994. The Medical Certificate contained the limitation "Holder shall possess correcting glasses for near vision while exercising the privileges of his airman certificate."
The pilot's flight logbooks were not recovered during the investigation. On the medical certificate application form, the pilot indicated he had "6,050 +" hours total flight time. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records revealed that on January 2, 1994, the pilot was evaluated and received approval to perform a Level 1 (no restriction) solo acrobatic act in the T-33. The pilot had received a biennial flight review on January 5, 1994, and was issued a Statement of Acrobatic Proficiency on March 11, 1994. FAA records also indicated the pilot flew an average of 50 hours per year during the two years preceding the accident.
The airplane crashed in a grassy area west of Runway 19. Witness statements and videotaped footage of the accident sequence revealed a large fireball at the point of initial impact. Wreckage debris and several smaller fires were scattered along a path which extended approximately 2,000 feet southwest of the first ground scar. Postaccident investigation revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction. Photograph and videotape are appended.
An autopsy examination of the pilot was conducted on June 13, 1994 at the Martha T. Berry Hospital in Mount Clemens, Michigan, by Werner U. Spitz, M.D., 23001 Greater Mack, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, 48080, (810) 776-2060. The autopsy report stated "...Advanced emphysema of the lungs and atherosclerosis of the aorta and major tributaries were...determinable."
Videotape footage from the accident sequence was submitted to an air show evaluator/performer for review. The evaluator's report indicated "...The positive elevator pre-load normally seen in these maneuvers is not present...the rate of descent increases as the maneuver progresses....The aircraft is being controlled throughout the maneuver....Corrective action does not appear...until the aircraft is past inverted... ." The evaluator also stated there was no indication the roll was uncommanded. A copy of the evaluator's report is appended.