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ACRO E-mail Archive Thread: 8KCAB Super Decathlon Crash


Thread: 8KCAB Super Decathlon Crash

Message: 8KCAB Super Decathlon Crash

Follow-Up To: ACRO Email list (for List Members only)

From: James Cherry <cherry at>

Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 06:01:06 UTC


It looks like the CFI didn't pull back on the stick to break the spin.
I wish the report included the fuel on board and pilot weights so we
could compute the CG.


                  Accident occurred DEC-14-96 at EAGLE POINT, OR
                    Aircraft: Bellanca 8KCAB, registration: N278ML 
                             Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor. 

On December 14, 1996, about 1520 Pacific standard time, N278ML, a
Bellanca 8KCAB Super Decathlon, operated by Skinner Aviation, Inc.,
Ashland, Oregon, impacted terrain during an uncontrolled descent near
Eagle Point, Oregon, and was destroyed. Visual meteorological
conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The certified
flight instructor (CFI) was fatally injured. The student, who was a
commercial pilot receiving aerobatic instruction at the time of the
accident, bailed out of the airplane and suffered minor injuries. The
local flight departed from Ashland about 1500 and was conducted under
14 CFR 91. According to the surviving pilot, the flight began after a
"thorough" preflight briefing on loops, spins, and bail-out
procedures. The engine run-up, takeoff, and climbout were "normal"
with no problems noted. After the surviving pilot performed three
normal spins and recoveries, the CFI attempted to demonstrate an
inverted spin. The CFI first rolled the airplane into an inverted
attitude about 7,200 feet in altitude. After maintaining inverted
flight for "quite a while," the CFI "stalled" the airplane and added
left rudder to initiate the inverted spin. The surviving pilot stated
that the CFI asked him to "help me with the rudder" after the third
revolution of the spin, at which time the surviving pilot noted that
the right rudder pedal was full forward. The surviving pilot then
pushed on the left rudder pedal, and the CFI said "not that rudder,"
at which time the right rudder pedal was moved to the full forward
position. The surviving pilot also noted that the control stick was in
the full forward position; he grabbed the stick and pulled it aft
about four inches, and he did not feel any control force on it. He
then released the stick and it fell to the forward position. He did
not think the CFI was "on the stick" at the time. The surviving pilot
also stated that the CFI decreased the engine power when initiating
the inverted spin, and no additional power changes were perceived
during the spin. The surviving pilot stated that he did not perceive
any mechanical problems associated with the engine or the airplane
during the flight. The CFI then ordered the surviving pilot to "bail
out." The surviving pilot jettisoned the door, unlatched himself from
his seat, and rolled onto the wing. He stated that the airplane's
attitude was "fairly flat" and there was little wind force. He then
parachuted to safety about 250 feet above the ground. An examination
of the wreckage did not disclose any evidence of a flight control
deficiency, in-flight structural failure, or engine malfunction. The
wreckage was found in one piece, inverted, and with the rudder
deflected to the right at maximum travel. The surviving pilot's
parachute was found about 50 feet from the wreckage. The CFI was found
strapped into the rear seat of the airplane.


© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Email Guenther Eichhorn