NTSB Identification: ATL03FA064
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14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Friday, March 21, 2003
Probable Cause Approval Date:
Cessna 172S, registration:
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
A witness stated she observed the airplane in straight and level flight at 1,500 feet. The airplane appeared to be traveling very fast. The nose of the airplane was observed to descend down to a 45-degree attitude and the airspeed increased. The airplane was observed to start a spin to the right and turned 180-degrees when a wing separated from the airplane. Another witness stated she observed the airplane in a 45-degree nose down attitude. The airplane was making a loud noise similar to an increase in airspeed. The nose of the airplane pitched down 90-degrees and she thought the pilot was performing a stunt maneuver. She then observed parts separate from the airplane and paper falling to the ground. Review of radar data showed the airplane's climb from the departure airport to a cruise altitude of 5, 700 feet. The radar data did not capture the breakup event. Review of failed components submitted to the NTSB Materials Laboratory revealed all failure fractures were consistent with overstress fracture, and there was no evidence of significant wear or corrosion.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this
The pilot’s exceedence of the design limits of the airplane, which resulted in the overload failure of the horizontal stabilizers, followed by the overload separation of the right wing and subsequent loss of control.