On November 29, 2009, at 1512 Pacific standard time, a Mahre Starduster SA300, N480DM, collided with terrain while maneuvering near Zillah, Washington. The airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

A witness, who was a remote control (RC) airplane pilot, was with several other RC airplane pilots at an airstrip that was used for RC airplane flying. According to the witness, the accident pilot was also a RC airplane pilot. The accident pilot had been planning on performing a fly-by in the accident airplane. The pilot overflew the airstrip about 1,200 to 1,500 feet above ground level. The witness assumed the pilot was checking that no RC airplanes were flying at the time. The pilot then returned, flying from southeast to northwest, and performed a fly-by approximately 20 to 30 feet above ground level. At the end of the airstrip, the airplane increased in altitude to about 100 feet and then entered a barrel roll to the right. The airplane lost altitude during the barrel roll and then impacted the ground. The witness reported that the winds were calm.

The pilot submitted a written statement. He reported that he was conducting a low-level, high-speed, pass over an airstrip. During the pass, he pulled up and rolled the airplane. He stated that about halfway through the roll, he lost sight of the horizon and he knew that he was in trouble. The airplane impacted the ground shortly thereafter.

The pilot additionally reported that his airman medical application had been denied in 2000 due to Parkinson’s disease. He had undergone a medical procedure for the disease and was working with the Federal Aviation Administration to reissue his airman medical certificate.

The pilot reported approximately 11,700 hours total flight time, with 400 hours in the accident airplane. No mechanical malfunctions were reported.

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