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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 189618
Last updated: 26 July 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic ST75 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing A75N1(PT17) Stearman
Registration: N999PP
C/n / msn: 75-2389
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Madras Municipal Airport (S33), Madras, OR -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Madras, OR (S33)
Destination airport:Madras, OR (S33)
Investigating agency: NTSB
As part of an air show, the commercial pilot was attempting to perform an inside loop immediately after takeoff. He had successfully accomplished the maneuver the previous day, as well as at many previous air shows. Witnesses observed the airplane lift off the runway and remain in a level attitude just above the runway surface before it climbed to perform the loop. Witnesses reported that the airplane descended from the top of the loop to a point in which its pitch attitude was between 10 and 20 nose-down until it impacted the runway. Video footage of the accident indicated that the pilot was in control of the airplane throughout the maneuver, and postaccident examination revealed no evidence of a preimpact mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation.

Another performer at the airshow reported that, during the evening practice the day before the accident, he observed the pilot perform the same maneuver, and described it as "sketchy" because of the low altitude at which the pilot completed the loop. He added that he previously asked the pilot how to perform this maneuver and the pilot said that it was a "complete crapshoot"; at the top of the loop, the pilot would decide whether he would "pull through and continue the loop or rollout into a half-Cuban or an Immelmann," both of which are recovery aerobatic maneuvers.

Prior to takeoff, the Air Boss reported to the pilot a density altitude (DA) of 4,600 ft. Postaccident calculations revealed that the DA at the time of the accident was about 5,221 ft, both of which are well above a standard day. The high density altitude conditions would have degraded the airplane's overall performance, resulting in decreased engine power available and reduced rate of climb. It is likely that the pilot failed to adequately compensate for the changes in airplane performance due to the high density altitude conditions, which resulted in a collision with terrain.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from the runway during a low-level aerobatic maneuver. Contributing to the accident was a high density altitude and the pilot's failure to plan/adequately compensate for high density altitude conditions.


FAA register:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 10 months
Download report: Final report


Photo: NTSB

Revision history:

28-Aug-2016 00:22 Geno Added
28-Aug-2016 08:04 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities]
28-Aug-2016 08:31 mediabrain Updated [Total fatalities, Narrative]
22-Jul-2018 18:49 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
22-Jul-2018 19:09 harro Updated [Source, Narrative, Photo, ]
14-Aug-2018 20:21 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]

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