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N9108Q accident description

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Tail numberN9108Q
Accident dateApril 29, 1998
Aircraft typeHispano Aviacion HA200B SAETA
LocationXenia, OH
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On April 29, 1998, about 1340 eastern daylight time, an experimental Hispano Aviacion, HA-200B Saeta, N9108Q, was destroyed when it impacted terrain in Xenia, Ohio. The certificated commercial pilot and pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight which departed Greene County Regional Airport (I19), about 1330. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane was manufactured by the Government of Spain, as a subsonic twin engine jet military trainer. Earlier that afternoon, three individuals interested in purchasing the accident airplane arrived at I19. According to one of the prospective buyers, after meeting the pilot and performing a "thorough" pre-flight check of the airplane, one of the prospective buyers entered the rear seat of the airplane for a demonstration flight.

In a written statement, one of the prospective buyers said the airplane departed runway 25, and lifted off the ground about 1,200-1,300 feet down the 3,947 foot long runway. He further stated:

"...They made a 180 and flew over the field at a speed I would estimate at 200 mph, with smoke coming out of the smoke tube. They turned back toward the airport to fly over runway 25 again and after passing the airport boundary they pulled the nose up and did a very nice roll. I estimate they started the pull-up and roll at around 1,000 feet above the airport and finished it around 1,700 feet. They then turned to the northeast and made a pass over us heading south-southeast and going faster then before..."

The prospective buyer then stated the airplane pulled up and made what he initially described as a "modified split-S," but later felt was more similar to a Cuban-8. "They rolled inverted and started pulling the nose through so as to be coming back towards us...we lost sight of the aircraft as it went below the trees. The next thing I saw was a ball of fire and a puff of black smoke..."

Another witness stated, the airplane performed some 90 degree rolls on a northerly heading. It then flew over the runway "low and fast," pitched up and made an aileron roll to the left. The airplane then "climbed rapidly," rolled inverted and attempted "a Split-S." The airplane was 80 degrees nose low when he lost sight of it due to the trees. The witness then observed black smoke.

In a telephone interview, a witness who was about 350 feet from the accident site stated, she heard a "puff, puff, puff" sound, turned around and observed an airplane heading northeast, "very low," about tree top level. She did not hear any engine sound coming from the airplane. The airplane then turned more northerly and went straight down behind the tree line.

A witness who lived on the other side of the tree line, about 1,000 feet west of the accident site stated, she suddenly heard the load roar of a very close jet powered airplane. She looked out the window and observed the airplane flying about 40 feet above the ground, "fast and reasonably level." The airplane then nosed over and crashed.

Examination of the wreckage was performed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector. The accident site was about 2.5 miles south-southeast from the departure airport. The majority of the wreckage was scattered for about 300 feet on a northerly heading. The airplane's wings, engines, and empennage were separated from the fuselage and located at different points along the debris path. Several parts of the wreckage were consumed by a post crash fire.

Two broken limbs were observed atop a 75 foot tall tree, located about 110 feet south of the initial ground impact point. About 90 feet north-northeast of the tree, a smaller tree, about 15 feet tall had numerous broken limbs. The tree line to the east of the wreckage path and the majority of trees in the accident site area were about 50 feet tall or less.

The left engine was found about 80 feet northwest of the initial ground impact point and the right engine came to rest about 400 feet northwest of the cockpit which was located about 110 feet north of the initial ground impact point. Both engines displayed evidence of rotation at impact. Packed mud was observed in the burner section of the left engine.

The airplane's current airframe and engine logbooks were not located. Information supplied by the pilot's family revealed the pilot had purchased the airplane in December 1993. On March 24, 1995, the airplane was inspected in accordance with an FAA approved inspection program. At that time, the airframe total time was reported as 1,363.2 hours.

The pilot's logbook was not located. The pilot reported 3,800 hours of total flight experience on his last application for an FAA Second Class Medical Certificate, which was issued on March 25, 1997. According to pilot's family, the pilot often used the airplane to participate in airshows, and had recently returned from the Experimental Aircraft Association's Sun and Fun Airshow in Lakeland, Florida.

In a written statement, an FAA Inspector from the Cincinnati Flight Standards District Office said his office had received public complaints from local pilots who were concerned about the pilot/owner of the accident airplane operating the airplane in the I19 traffic pattern in a hazardous manner; which included performing aerobatic rolls in the traffic pattern.

According to the prospective buyers, parachutes were available in the airplane; however, neither the pilot nor the passenger wore them.

Part of Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 91.307, Parachutes and parachuting, stated:

"Unless each occupant of the aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any (other than a crew member) may execute any intentional maneuver that exceeds:

(1) A bank of 60 degrees relative to the horizon; or (2) A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon."

Part of FAR 91.303, Aerobatic flight, stated, "No person may operate an aircraft in aerobatic flight...below an altitude of 1,500 feet above the surface."

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.