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On June 12, 1993, at 1553 central daylight time, a Bellanca 8KCAB, N2977A, was destroyed upon impact with terrain following a loss of control while performing aerobatics maneuvers near Texas City, Texas. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight.
According to the pilot's instructor, the airplane departed the LaPorte Airport, near Houston, Texas, at approximately 1425 enroute to the local practice area to go through his aerobatics sequence in preparation for acrobatic competition. Witnesses observed the airplane executing aerobatics maneuvers over a reservoir. On his last maneuver, the nose was observed to pitch up abruptly, followed by the nose dropping towards the ground and developing into a spin.
The airplane impacted on a levee on the east side of the reservoir approximately 500 feet west of the Texas State Highway 146, within the city limits of Texas City. One of the persons fishing at the reservoir observed an object come out of the airplane at the time of impact, and ran to the accident site. The witness observed the pilot floating approximately 35 feet from the wreckage, and jumped in the water to retrieve the body.
The pilot had previously competed in aerobatics meets in the sportsman category. He flew a one hour flight the morning of the accident and conferred with his instructor pilot over lunch that afternoon.
The airplane was topped off with 16.4 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel just prior to departure. A review of the airframe and engine records by the Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not reveal any anomalies or uncorrected maintenance defects prior to the flight.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted on the east shore of the Galveston County reservoir on a measured heading of 010 degrees. The propeller and powerplant were found partially buried in a crater 16 inches deep by 30 inches wide. Flight control continuity was established to all flight controls.
Examination of the airframe and engine at the accident site did not disclose any mechanical problems or anomalies that would have prevented normal operations.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy and toxicological tests were ordered and performed. The autopsy was performed at the Galveston County forensic facilities by Dr. William E. Korndorffer, Chief Medical Examiner, on June 13, 1993. Toxicology tests were negative.
The acrobatic airplane was equipped with quick release emergency window exits. The red emergency door release handle for the right cabin window was found in the unlocked or open position with the safety pins partially removed. The pilot's seat belts and shoulder harnesses were found in the unlocked position. An approved parachute was worn by the pilot. The pilot was ejected from the airplane and was found in the water.
The wreckage was released to the owner at the accident site on June 13, 1993. The airworthiness certificate, aircraft registration, and the aircraft flight manual were returned to the owner's representative on June 15, 1993.