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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CEN17FA075
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 12, 2017 in Era, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/12/2017
Aircraft: FIELDS Steen Skybolt, registration: N94RG
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 reported that he was outside his house when he heard an airplane “flying aerobatics.” He said that he heard the airplane conduct two to three passes and that he could hear the engine “cycling under load as they do in airshows.” He then went to the other side of the house, at which point he saw the airplane in a hammerhead climb (climbing straight up); the airplane then entered a slow, spiraling descent straight down, during which he did not hear engine noise. The airplane made about four spirals before it went out of sight behind rising terrain. The witness added that it did not appear that any attempt was made to recover from the descent. He was uncertain about what altitude the airplane was at when it was at the top of the hammerhead maneuver. The airplane wreckage was found less than 1/4 mile from the pilot’s private grass airstrip. The examination of the wreckage revealed no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Given the witness statement, it is likely that the pilot lost airplane control while conducting aerobatic flight maneuvers and that there was insufficient altitude to recover.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s loss of airplane control while conducting aerobatic flight maneuvers with insufficient altitude to recover.