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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA17LA031
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 29, 2016 in New Bern, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/14/2017
Aircraft: HADDOW WILLIAM H PITTS SPECIAL S 1, registration: N27832
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 commercial pilot reported that he was practicing aerobatics in the experimental, amateur-built biplane over a river. During the maneuvers, as he input left aileron, the control stick was stiff, and he believed he observed abnormal movement of the upper left aileron. He then applied more force to free the control stick and input right aileron; however, the airplane rolled left and entered a spin. The pilot was unable to recover from the spin and subsequently parachuted from the airplane. The airplane came to rest at the bottom of the river.
Examination of the recovered wreckage revealed that most of the left wings’ parts, including the ailerons and aileron control tubes, were not recovered. As such, control continuity could not be verified or tested.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • A loss of biplane control during aerobatic maneuvers for reasons that could not be determined because a portion of the biplane's flight control system was not recovered and could not be tested.