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N68PS accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Cromwell, MN
46.942183°N, 96.353676°W
Tail number N68PS
Accident date 10 Oct 2003
Aircraft type Aviat Pitts S-2B
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 10, 2003, at 1805 central daylight time, an Aviat Pitts S-2B, N68PS, owned and piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed when it impacted Island Lake, near Cromwell, Minnesota. Witnesses reported that the airplane was performing aerobatics prior to the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Duluth International Airport, Duluth, Minnesota, at 1740.

According to the Carlton County Sheriff's Department Report, a witness was walking when he saw the airplane flying over the lake. He said that the airplane was climbing and appeared to be stalled. It then turned into a sharp angle downward and went down toward the lake. He said that at one point he saw smoke coming from the airplane.

A second witness stated that he was outside his residence when he saw the airplane fly over at 30 feet above the trees in an eastbound direction. He heard the engine, and it was very loud. It sounded as though it was at full throttle. The witness said that he saw smoke coming out of the airplane.

A third witness, who was a friend of the pilot and knew his routine, said that he was watching the airplane prior to the accident and that it was at an altitude of about 1,500 feet. He said the airplane rolled into a spin and upon reaching one turn into the spin it turned smoke on. He said that what he saw was an intentional spin and that this was an actual aerobatic maneuver that the pilot has performed. He said that the pilot started the recovery and a pull out about 150 - 200 feet.

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the St. Louis County, Office of the Medical Examiner, Hibbing, Minnesota.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report reported the following: no carbon monoxide detected in blood, no cyanide detected in blood, no ethanol detected in blood, no drugs listed above detected in blood.

Divers reported that the pilot was seated in the rear seat and was wearing the airplane restraint harness and a parachute.

The airplane was in 14 - 16 feet of water about 300 feet from shore. Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector confirmed flight control continuity to the flight controls. The airplane was equipped with a smoke system.

NTSB Probable Cause

The altitude/clearance not maintained by the pilot while performing aerobatic maneuvers. Contributing factors were the planning/decision to perform an aerobatic maneuver at a low altitude.

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