Airplane Continued To Descend In A Steep Left Bank, Nose-Low Attitude Until It Impacted Terrain

Location: Reno, NV Accident Number: WPR22FA350
Date & Time: September 18, 2022, 15:44 Local Registration: N129MM
Aircraft: Aerovodochody L-29 Delfin Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Air race/show

On September 18, 2022, about 1544 Pacific daylight time, a Aerovodochody L29-Delphin, N129MM, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Reno, Nevada. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 Air Race flight. The accident airplane, operated as Race 29, was on lap 3 of 6. Witnesses reported that the accident airplane began a climb as it neared outer pylon no. 4 and appeared to tighten its left turn back toward the inner portion of the racecourse. At the peak of the climb, the airplane entered an approximate 90° right bank and started a descent before it rolled left to an approximate 90° bank (pictured). The airplane continued to descend in a steep left bank, nose-low attitude until it impacted terrain just beyond outer pylon no. 5.

A photograph captured by a witness just prior to impact showed that all primary flight controls remained attached to the airframe at the time of the accident.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted terrain on a magnetic heading of about 229°. The first identified point of contact (FIPC) with terrain was a swath of freshly disturbed dirt, consistent with a left-wing impact. The swath of disturbed dirt continued for about 180 ft to a large burn area, which contained various fragments of wreckage. The 2,200 ft long debris path continued along a magnetic heading of about 242° degrees and contained fragments of wreckage along with portions of both wings, empennage, and engine.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.