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On March 22, 2003, about 1431 central standard time, a Techno Avia SP-95, N195SF, registered to and operated by Airshow Unlimited, Inc., as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 airshow demonstration flight, crashed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The airline transport-rated pilot received fatal injuries, and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.
Several witnesses, including FAA inspectors observed the accident, and according to FAA inspectors, the accident airplane was to take part in a racing demonstration flight with a jet truck as a part of the airshow. The inspectors stated that the airplane and the truck were supposed to race, but they were not synchronized and the jet truck was late commencing, so the pilot executed a low level loop, about 50 feet above the ground and continued the loop to an altitude of about 300 feet. They further stated that the airplane appeared to have stalled at the top of the loop maneuver, and as it descended, it did so in a level flight attitude, and at a high vertical velocity. The airplane impacted the ground hard in a level attitude, and slid forward about 25 feet before coming to rest. All witnesses stated that the engine sounded as if it was operating normally throughout the flight.
An FAA-licensed airframe and powerplant mechanic, performed a postcrash examination of the flight controls and there was continuity to the rudder, elevator, and right aileron. The left aileron push-pull tube rod end at the control stick was broken at the threads and the separation was consistent with overstress.
Records indicate that the pilot held an FAA airline transport pilot certificate, with airplane multiengine land and commercial single engine land and sea instrument airplane ratings. He was type rated in the B-727, B-757, B-767, N-265, held a turbo-powered flight engineer certificate, and a certified flight instructor certificate with a glider rating. He also held waivers for solo aerobatics and dogfight demonstrations with surface level 1 waiver with qualifications in the Zlin 526F, Beechcraft T-34, North American T-6, Technoavia SP-95, and the Pilatus aircraft.
In addition, the pilot held an FAA first class medical certificate, with the limitation "Must have lenses available for near and distant vision", issued on January 21, 2003. At the time of his last medical examination he had reportedly acquired over 19,000 hours of flight experience.
The accident aircraft is a Russian-built Technoavia SP-95, two-seat aerobatic aircraft with the rear seat instrumented for the pilot in command. N195SF was manufactured in 1995 and held an experimental exhibition certificate that was issued in June 1999. The aircraft is equipped with a 9 cylinder, 360 horsepower Vedeneyev M-14 P engine and used a Russian-manufactured 3-bladed wooden propeller that was installed in March 2000. Airplane records indicate that at the time of the accident, the airframe and engine had collected a total time of 246 hours.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Florida, 1534, surface weather observation was, wind from 270 degrees at 14 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, clear sky, temperature 72 degrees F, dew point temperature 54 degrees F, altimeter setting 29.97 inHg.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by a medical examiner with the District 14 Medical Examiner's Office, Panama City, Florida. The cause of death was attributed to multiple fractures and internal injuries due to blunt force trauma. No findings which could be considered causal were reported.
Toxicological studies of specimens obtained from the pilot was performed at the University of Florida Laboratories. The specimens were tested for ethanol, comprehensive drug screen, and carbolyhemoglobin. Four percent saturation carboxyhemoglobin was found in blood.
In addition, the FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicology studies on specimens from the pilot. The specimens were tested for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs. None were found to be present.