Airplane Then Rolled Right And Inverted And Exited The Roll Maneuver In A Nose-Low Attitude

Location: Groton, SD Accident Number: CEN20LA389
Date & Time: 09/13/2020, 1100 CDT Registration: N83DH
Aircraft: Champion 8KCAB Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation – Personal

On September 13, 2020, about 1100 central daylight time (CDT), an American Champion 8KCAB, N83DH, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Groton, South Dakota. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

According to a witness, after takeoff, the airplane accelerated down the runway in ground effect before the nose pitched up to an estimated 45° angle. The airplane then rolled right and inverted and exited the roll maneuver in a nose-low attitude prior to impact with the ground.

One witness estimated the roll was initiated between 75 and 100 ft above ground level. Two witnesses reported that the maneuver appeared intentional due to the rapid roll rate. Of the three witnesses interviewed, all stated that they did not know of any planned aerobatic maneuvers for the flight. The flight was part of a group of pilots attempting to raise money to help youth gain interest in aviation.

A family member stated that the pilot routinely performed low-level aerobatics in the accident airplane.

The airplane came to rest about 200 yards south of runway 15 at Groton Municipal Airport (2E6). The airplane impacted in an upright, nose low attitude before it came to rest inverted. Both wings, the fuselage, and tail all sustained substantial damage in the impact.

A detailed wreckage examination is pending.