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N221DP accident description

Massachusetts map... Massachusetts list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Chatham, MA
41.666779°N, 69.966126°W
Tail number N221DP
Accident date 13 Jun 1993
Aircraft type Skillman Thorp T-18
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On Sunday, June 13, 1993, at about 1430 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt, Thorp T18, N221DP, owned and piloted by Thomas Waage, impacted the water and sank near Chatham, Massachusetts. The airplane was destroyed. The pilot was fatally injured, and the pilot rated passenger received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. A flight plan had not been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR 91.

The Federal Aviation Administration Inspector interviewed the passenger, Mr. Hopkins, and summarized the following:

"...He met Mr. Waage, who was a friend, and was invited to go see the jet skier's...They departed runway 24...They reached approximately 1000' [feet]...Upon initial sighting of the jet skier's they made several high altitude circles (approximately 800' [feet] at steep bank angles above the skier's...made a descending low level pass over the jet skier's. This maneuver was from 500' [feet] to approximately 30' [feet] at a speed estimated...between 160 and 170 kts [knots]...Mr. Hopkins asked Mr. Waage not to do anything because they were too close to the water. No response to this request was received. Mr. Hopkins felt that Mr. Waage was intent on doing something for the jet skier's. A second pass was accomplished at a slightly different speed and altitude. Mr. Hopkins...again stated, "we are too low for this, don't roll it." On the third pass, Mr. Waage did accomplish a roll. Mr. Hopkins believes the roll was successfully completed, however...He does remember that the aircraft hit on one wing and then pancaked into the water at a normal flight attitude...Mr. Hopkins repeated to me several times that he had asked Mr. Waage not to do any low level stunts, which "he was notorious for doing,"...Mr. Hopkins did not fly the aircraft because his legs are to long...The entire flight lasted only 10 to 15 minutes...Mr. Hopkins confirmed that there was nothing wrong with the airframe, flight controls or engine at the time of the accident..."

Witnesses, near the jet skiers, observed the airplane maneuvering. One witness, Jerome Sodus, stated:

"...I happened to have my field glasses out...I picked up the plane...the plane came along the Chatham Bar...the plane was really not that high in the air. The plane made a 360 [degree] roll. The plane then dipped down as if the pilot intended to "buzz" the 2 jet skiers. The plane altitude at this point was perhaps 20 feet above the water...I'd estimate he had dropped to about 1/2 the altitude he was at when he finished the roll. Then all of a sudden, the plane just went in the water."

Another witness stated, "...[The] plane did a 360 [degree] barrel roll. Seemed to recover for a moment, then began roll and went into water and broke up."

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight at approximately 41 degrees, 40 minutes north latitude, and 69 degrees, 55 minutes west longitude.


The pilot, Mr. Thomas C. Waage, held an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land, and a type rating in the Boeing 727. He held a Commercial Pilot Certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. Mr. Waage also held a Flight Instructor Certificate for airplane single engine land.

His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Second Class Medical Certificate was issued on December 23, 1991.

Mr. Waage's pilot log book was not up to date. His total flight time was estimated to be about 21,100 hours, of which approximately 270 hours were in this airplane.


The airplane wreckage was located submerged in approximately 18 feet of water, about 1/2 mile off the shore line of Massachusetts. The wreckage was removed from the water, and examined, on June 14, 1993. Examination of the wreckage revealed that all major components of the airplane were accounted for except, the flaps and the outboard section of the right wing. The wing section was observed breaking off during the salvage operation and resinking. No discrepancies in the airframe or engine were noted.


An autopsy was performed on Mr. Thomas C. Waage, on April 14, 1993, by Dr. James Weiner, Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Medical Examiners Office, Pocasset, Massachusetts. The results indicated that Mr. Waage died of, "asphyxia by drowning...[and] blunt head trauma."

The toxicological testing report, from the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed negative for drugs, carbon monoxide, cyanide and alcohol, for Mr. Thomas C. Waage.


The airplane wreckage was released on April 14, 1993, to Daniel S, Klein, a representative of the owners insurance company.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's performance of an aerobatic maneuver, with insufficient altitude for recovery, resulting in a collision with the water

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