Accident Extra EA-300 N414MT,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 200520
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Date:Saturday 21 October 2017
Type:Silhouette image of generic E300 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Extra EA-300
Owner/operator:Sky Combat Ace
Registration: N414MT
MSN: 1300
Year of manufacture:2009
Total airframe hrs:186 hours
Engine model:Lycoming AEIO-580-B1A
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near El Capitan Reservoir, central San Diego County, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:San Diego-Gillespie Field, CA (SEE/KSEE)
Destination airport:San Diego-Gillespie Field, CA (SEE/KSEE)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The commercial pilot and passenger departed in the aerobatic airplane to an area established by the operator for accomplishing aerobatic maneuvers. Although operating as a flight training company, the operator described itself as an "extreme aviation attraction," providing a series of aviation-related experiences that included aerobatics, simulated air combat, and flight training, during which passengers had the opportunity to fly the airplane. The accident flight was a 25-minute-long "Top Gun" experience, which incorporated aerobatics, high-g maneuvers, and a low-level bombing run simulation.

Radar data revealed that the airplane flew to the standard practice area while performing the maneuvers. About that time, witnesses observed the airplane performing aerobatic maneuvers, then watched the airplane descend to the ground. One witness stated that he could see the airplane spiraling down behind a ridge. Another, who was closer to the accident site, stated that the airplane appeared to be descending at a rapid rate. He then heard popping sounds as the airplane passed behind a ridge and impacted the ground. Another witness, who was familiar with the aerobatic operations in the area, stated that the airplane appeared to be flying more aggressively than usual.

An accurate analysis of the final stages of the flight could not be derived due to the sample rate of the radar data relative to the airplane's rapid aerobatic movements.

An aft-facing onboard camera, mounted in front of the passenger was recording throughout the entire flight. The video revealed that the airplane was performing aerobatic maneuvers for about 7 minutes with both the pilot and passenger manipulating the controls. After the pilot completed a tumble maneuver, the airplane began to regain altitude. The passenger then moved his hands away from the flight controls and appeared to be bracing his arms against the sides of the airframe in anticipation for an aerobatic maneuver. The airplane then pitched up and rolled right, and then rolled left while the pilot made a "whooping" sound, as the airplane transitioned into an inverted spin. The passenger experienced negative g forces and reached up with his right arm up to secure the headphones that were pulling away from his head. The maneuver progressed, and its direction of rotation then reversed, until the airplane transitioned into an attitude such that only the sky was visible in the canopy.

The wind noise began to increase, and a gap began to appear at the interface between the canopy frame and fuselage, indicating that the airplane was approaching its never exceed speed. The passenger then began to aggressively be rocked from side to side; however, the sun could be seen gradually transitioning across the canopy, indicating the airplane was no longer tumbling and its attitude had stabilized. Up until this point, the passenger appeared to be enjoying the flight, but his facial expression changed, and he looked down and reached forward with his right hand. At that moment, the pilot activated the canopy release handle and the canopy opened. The camera was ejected, and continued to record as it descended to the ground, capturing the airplane collide with terrain 6 seconds later.

The violent rocking movement experienced by the passenger in the final seconds did not correspond to the gradual movement of the sun in the canopy, and was likely a result of the pilot applying rapid control inputs, possibly to the rudder, in an attempt to regain airplane control. The pilot released the canopy very shortly after the rocking movements began, so it is likely that he quickly deduced that recovery was not possible and that a bailout was necessary. The collision with terrain happened so fast after canopy release that a successful bailout was unlikely. Both occupants' seat belts were found in the latched and locked positions, further indicating that they did not have enough time to egress the airplane. Likewise, both occupants were wearing parachutes, neither of which had been deployed.

Probable Cause: Collision with terrain after the pilot was unable to regain airplane control during an aerobatic maneuver. Contributing to the accident was the operator's failure to provide effective internal oversight to identify and prohibit exceedance of the airplanes' performance parameters, and the lack of regulatory framework available to oversee and regulate such flight operations.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR18FA013
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 9 months
Download report: Final report


FAA register:




Revision history:

22-Oct-2017 09:21 Iceman 29 Added
22-Oct-2017 11:32 Iceman 29 Updated [Source, Embed code, Narrative, Photo, ]
23-Oct-2017 12:04 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total occupants, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
23-Oct-2017 14:32 gerard57 Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants, Source, Narrative]
23-Oct-2017 16:47 Iceman 29 Updated [Registration, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
23-Oct-2017 18:34 Anon. Updated [Source]
24-Oct-2017 19:09 Iceman 29 Updated [Registration, Operator, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
24-Oct-2017 19:10 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
19-Jul-2020 06:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report, ]
19-Jul-2020 06:36 harro Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report, ]
29-Aug-2020 12:35 Aerossurance Updated [Source]
29-Aug-2020 12:55 Aerossurance Updated [Embed code]

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