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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN15FA291
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 04, 2015 in Portland, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/06/2017
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7BCM, registration: N10497
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 reported seeing the airplane flying “right over the rooftop” of a home before turning along the shoreline at an altitude of 20-50 ft above the ground. He initially thought the airplane was going to land. The witness then observed the airplane climb straight up into a loop maneuver, roll inverted, then descend nose-first into the ground. Another witness said the airplane did 3-4 “wing waves” before it completed ½ of a loop, then descended straight down. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The impact damage to the airplane was consistent with a stall/spin, which resulted from the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack during the attempted loop.
Toxicological testing revealed the presence of several impairing substances, including alcohol, opiod medication (hydrocodone), a benzodiazepine (alprazolam), as well as evidence of withdrawal from cocaine. The pilot was likely significantly impaired by the combination of these substances, and this level of impairment contributed to his poor decision-making, as well as his inability to safely operate the airplane.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s ostentatious low-altitude aerobatic display, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin when he exceeded the airplane’s critical angle of attack. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s impairment due to alcohol and drugs.