On August 8, 2009, at 1015 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Bradley Stump Kolb M3X, N2456, was substantially damaged following a loss of control in-flight and ground impact in Calhoun, Tennessee. The certificated private pilot, who was the owner of the airplane, and a passenger were killed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight originated from Hardwick Field (HDI), Cleveland, Tennessee, at an undetermined time.

According to a witness, who heard the airplane passing by, looked up and observed it climb straight up and then do a “cartwheel” and come straight down then level out. The pilot did this maneuver three times, however on the third time the airplane went straight up and “flipped over backwards, at about 200 feet above the ground the airplane started spinning, and then collided with the ground”. The witness contacted 911 and reported the accident.

The pilot, age 53, held a private pilot certificate, with airplane single-engine land ratings. In addition, he held a third-class medical certificate issued on October 17, 2007, with no restrictions. The pilot’s most recent medical certificate indicated that he had accumulated 85 hours of flight time. The pilot’s logbook was not recovered for examination.

The two-seat, high wing, fixed tricycle gear, serial number (S/N) M3X6-4-0084, was manufactured in 2008. It was powered by a Hirth rear mounted 270-hp engine and equipped with a fixed pitch composite propeller. Review of the airplane’s logbook revealed that the airplane’s last conditional inspection was performed on March 25, 2009, and had accumulated a total time of 27.2 hours.

A review of the airplane’s operating limitations, item 14 states that “This aircraft is prohibited from aerobatic flight, that is, an intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in the aircraft’s attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration not necessary for normal flight.”

Examination of the wreckage by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector found that the airplane had impacted trees and the ground at near vertical nose down attitude substantially damaging the engine, cockpit, wings, empennage and stabilizers. Examination of the airframe, engine and system components revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical failure or malfunction.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 10, 2009, by the University of Tennessee Medical Center, University Pathologists, P.C., in Knoxville, Tennessee. The autopsy findings included, “Multiple blunt force injuries.” Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report indicated that the carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed. No ethanol was detected in vitreous, but Diphenhydramine, Normeperidine and Promethazine was detected in the liver and spleen. The pilot’s most recent application for 3rd class FAA Airman Medical Certificate, dated October 17, 2007, noted no medications and no conditions requiring the use of medications.

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