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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN15FA154
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 25, 2015 in Helotes, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/14/2016
Aircraft: ROSE THUNDER MUSTANG, registration: N7TR
Injuries: 1 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 observed the airplane flying about 600 ft above ground level over an unpopulated area. He observed the nose of the airplane go straight up while the airplane simultaneously banked left. The airplane became fully inverted and then began to descend in a left bank. The witness reported that he expected to see the airplane pull up and level off at its original altitude and then depart the area as he had seen the airplane do many times before. However, this time, the airplane continued to descend nearly straight down until he lost sight of the airplane behind a hill and trees; he heard a “thud” moments later. He reported that the engine sounded like it was producing full power throughout the maneuver, and he heard no indication of a loss of engine power. The airplane impacted hard, rocky terrain that contained juniper, mesquite, and oak trees. A majority of the fragmented wreckage of the composite airplane was located within 300 ft of the initial impact point; the engine was found about 730 ft from the initial impact point. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. An examination of an engine monitoring device installed on the airplane indicated that the engine was producing power at the time of impact. The wreckage path and the length of the debris field indicated that the pilot attempted to recover from the maneuver but was unable to maintain terrain clearance due to the low altitude at which he started the maneuver.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s failure to maintain terrain clearance from terrain after initiating an aerobatic maneuver at a low altitude.