On September 25, 1995, about 1214 eastern daylight time, an Aerotek, Pitts S2S, N260HP, registered to a private owner, experienced an in-flight loss of control and crashed near Clarksville, Virginia. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 business flight. The airplane was destroyed and the commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The flight originated at 1038 from the Oceana Naval Air Station, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot's wingman stated that the purpose of the flight was to reposition the accident airplane to Alexandria, Louisiana, where an airshow was scheduled. Before departure both pilots watched the TV weather channel in their hotel. After departure while flying in formation between layers of clouds, both pilots elected to divert due to adverse weather ahead. While proceeding to the alternate airport, the lead airplane pilot observed clouds ahead and deviated to maintain VFR. The pilot of the accident airplane which was flying above, behind, and to the left of his airplane advised him that his flight had encountered IMC conditions and the airspeed was increasing. The accident pilot advised him that he was "punching out." The pilot of the lead airplane tried unsuccessfully to contact the accident pilot. The pilot of the lead airplane squawked 7700 on his transponder and flew an orbit looking for the accident airplane but was unable to locate the wreckage. The pilot of the lead airplane then landed at a nearby airport. The wreckage was located the following day in a wooded area.
Examination of the accident site by an FAA inspector revealed evidence that the airplane descended near vertical while rotating about the longitudinal axis. The pitot tube was observed to be imbedded vertically in the ground. Further examination beyond cursory of the wreckage was not performed. An on-scene examination was not performed by the NTSB.
According to the pilot of the lead airplane, the accident airplane was not equipped with either a gyroscopic attitude indicator, a turn coordinator, or a directional gyro. The airplane was equipped with a compass, airspeed indicator, altimeter, and a digital tachometer. Review of FAA records indicate that the accident pilot had been issued an instrument rating. Review of the accident pilot's Pilot Logbook revealed entries which indicate in the remarks section "...first w/ scuds keep yer speed...scary scud 0-0 low level & between layers."
A post-mortem examination of the pilot was performed by Elizabeth Kinnison, M.D., Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Richmond, Virginia. The cause of death was listed as total body fragmentation due to airplane crash. A toxicology analysis was performed by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) and the Division of Forensic Science, Commonwealth of Virginia. The results of analysis by the AFIP were positive for acetaldehyde, ethanol, acetone, propanol, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine. Moderate putrefaction was noted. Analysis by the Commenwealth of Virginia was positive in the liver and spleen for ethanol. Testing of vitreous fluid could not be accomplished due to insufficient quantity of the specimen.