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N219RC accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Cambridge, IN
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Tail number N219RC
Accident date 15 Mar 1996
Aircraft type BISHOP-CHRISTIAN Eagle Ii
Additional details: None
No position found

NTSB Factual Report

On March 15, 1996, at 1427 eastern standard time, a Bishop- Christian Eagle II, N219RC, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it collided with the ground while in a flat spin attitude. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from New Castle, Indiana, exact time unknown.

Witnesses observed the airplane doing aerobatics for 15 to 20 minutes. One witness said the airplane "...went into ...[a] vertical climb, after a few seconds of steady climbing I could hear the engine begin to slow from the pilot throttling back so the aircraft would stall. Just before it stalled the left wing tip dropped and the aircraft went into a counterclockwise flat spin with the nose slightly down." He said the engine was still running at idle or slightly above idle speed. Two other witnesses confirmed the description given by the witness who described the flat spin.

The on-scene investigation was conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI). The PMI reported the airplane did not produce a ground scar during its impact sequence. He said the airplane's upper wing and top section of the fuselage had collapsed toward the bottom wing and fuselage. One propeller blade had impacted the ground and was bent aft about 90 degrees at the hub.

The PMI stated there were no mechanical anomalies with the engine, airframe, or control system that would prevent flight. He said he observed a fluid that was similar in color and odor to aviation 100LL fuel in the fuel line from the throttle body to fuel distributor and return line. He said the throttle was in the full forward position.

The former owner of N219RC said he gave the accident pilot about 10 hours of dual instruction. He said he did not teach the pilot any aerobatics, only how to takeoff and land the airplane. The former owner said he was not a flight instructor. He said he told the pilot to learn to fly the airplane "...right side up..." before he did any aerobatics in it. The former owner said he told the pilot to get acrobatic dual from a flight instructor qualified in the Eagle II before he did any aerobatics on his own.

The former owner said he told the pilot that the Eagle II was not like the Luscombe he used to own. He said the accident pilot had performed aerobatics in a Luscombe. The former owner told the pilot to do aerobatics above 5,000 feet above ground level. He said the airplane shouldn't be flown low and slow. He said the way to recover from a flat spin in the Eagle II was to retard the power and "...turn loose of the stick." He said the airplane will go into an inverted flat spin from a hammerhead stall if the pilot applies left rudder and waits too long.

The manager of the fixed base operation where N219RC had been hangared said the accident pilot and a partner had owned the airplane about 2 to 3 weeks. He said the pilot had not received any acrobatic instruction from any local instructors. He said the pilot did aerobatics in a Luscombe during the late 1970's and 1980's.

The pilot's autopsy was conducted at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 16, 1996. The autopsy's toxicology report was negative for drugs and alcohol. The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute toxicology report was negative.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot allowed the airplane to enter a flat spin, while performing an acrobatic maneuver, and was unable to recover before ground impact. Factors relating to the accident were: the pilot's overconfidence in his personal ability, and his lack of familiarity with the airplane's flight characteristics.

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