On February 17, 1996, at 1414 hours Pacific standard time, a Steeves KR2 homebuilt experimental airplane, N395DS, collided with the ground following a loss of control while in the traffic pattern at Brown Field, San Diego, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the operation. The aircraft was destroyed in the ground collision sequence. The certificated commercial pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated at Brown Field about 1400 on the day of the accident as a local area personal flight.

According to FAA inspectors who responded to the accident site, examined the aircraft, and interviewed witnesses, the aircraft sat in storage for 2 years with the wings off. After reassembly, the owner asked the pilot to test the aircraft. The ceiling was 1,000 foot overcast and the pilot elected to fly the aircraft in the traffic pattern. The pilot flew the aircraft on a short flight around the pattern and a minor discrepancy was fixed. He then departed on the second flight and made several low passes along the runway. The aircraft was on downwind when the aircraft owner and other witnesses saw the aircraft noticeably slow down as if the pilot were exploring the slow flight regime. The aircraft appeared to stall, fall off on the right wing, and enter a spin that continued to ground impact.

The FAA inspectors said that no discrepancies were found during the examination of the airframe and engine. The aircraft speed brakes were found extended. Control system continuity was established.

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