NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The airplane departed its home airport for a local flight. Radar data indicated that, about 9 minutes after departure, the airplane was at 7,400 ft mean sea level (msl) and had begun a left 270-degree turn. The last radar return, which was recorded about 1 minute later, showed the airplane about 1,100 ft msl, which correlates to an approximate 6,000 ft-per-minute descent. The airplane was found the following day floating on top of the water in a sound and was subsequently recovered. The pilot’s parachute pack was found deployed and partially wrapped around the propeller. The airplane’s canopy was not present; however, it was located several weeks later floating in the water. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any mechanical failure or anomaly that would have precluded normal operation.
The airplane’s calculated center of gravity (CG) was about 3 inches beyond the aft CG limit, which likely induced longitudinal instability and led to a subsequent deep, unrecoverable stall. The canopy examination and the as-found condition of the parachute pack indicated that the canopy was likely opened in flight. Therefore, the pilot likely recognized that the stall was unrecoverable and attempted to bail out of the airplane but was unsuccessful.
Although toxicology testing showed that the pilot had used marijuana at some time before the accident, the low levels detected in the pilot’s specimens indicated that he was not likely significantly impaired by its use at the time of the accident.