Accident Flight Was The First Aerobatic Demonstration Flight For The Foreign Pilot/Pilot-Rated Passenger

Location: Osteen, FL Accident Number: ERA22FA384
Date & Time: August 24, 2022, 16:39 Local Registration: N263MX
Aircraft: MXR Technologies MX2 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Other work use

On August 24, 2022, at 1639 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built MXR Technologies MX2, N263MX, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in Osteen, Florida. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerobatic demonstration flight.

According to witnesses, the flight was part of a training and demonstration package organized by the pilot for a group of foreign air force pilots. The pilots had travelled to the United States earlier in the week for the training, which included three flights with a flight instructor in a different airplane for upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) and then two 30-minute flights in the accident airplane for aerobatic demonstration. The accident flight was the first aerobatic demonstration flight for the foreign pilot/pilot-rated passenger.

Review of preliminary Federal Aviation Administration flight track data revealed that airplane departed the Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Daytona Beach, Florida, at 1632. The airplane flew south and began maneuvering east of Lake Ashby between 2,000 and 5,000 ft mean sea level (msl). The last data point, at 1639, showed the airplane at 2,738 ft msl, on a track of 068°, and at 15 kts groundspeed.

When the pilots did not return when expected, the URPT instructor and one of the other foreign pilots looked at internet flight track data and noted that the flight progression had stopped east of Lake Ashby. They departed in the URPT airplane and flew to the area where the fight progression stopped to look for the accident airplane. They observed the accident airplane inverted in the marsh and radioed to air traffic control that the airplane had crashed.

The airplane came to rest in a wooded marsh about 145 ft southwest of the last track data point. Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed that the airplane came to rest inverted and oriented on a 98° magnetic heading. The wreckage was intact, and there was a strong fuel odor and no evidence of fire. All portions of the airplane were located on site. Post-recovery examination of the wreckage revealed that the lower fuselage structure was intact, and the canopy frame was fracture-separated along the bond line to the lower fuselage. The empennage was intact although fractured along the bond line of its upper and lower surfaces and separated from the fuselage aft of the rear pilot seat. The elevators remained attached to the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer at the bottom attachment point. The top 6 inches the vertical stabilizer was impact crushed, with a section forward of the top rudder attachment point missing.

The left wing with aileron attached was largely undamaged. The right wing with aileron attached displayed a fracture mid-span at the leading edge and deformation to the second most outboard aileron attachment point. Rudder and aileron control continuity were confirmed through cuts made to facilitate recovery, although no left aileron tube or rod was present from the wing root cut to a fractured rod end thread at the aileron torque tube bell crank in the cockpit. Recovery personnel indicated that the missing section may have fractured and been lost during recovery in the marsh. Elevator control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit control column to just aft of the rear pilot seat, where there was a bend fracture 17 1/2 inches aft of the elevator torque tube end fitting. There was a 40-inch span of torque tube then a second fracture about 20.5 inches forward of the aft bell crank. This fracture corresponded to where the torque tube was positioned at the aft bulkhead opening with the elevator control surface in the full upward position.

Examination of the composite propeller revealed that it remained attached to the engine crankshaft flange. One propeller blade remained attached with no damage noted, a second propeller blade was fracture separated about 18 inches outboard of the hub, and the remaining propeller blade was fracture separated about 6 inches outboard of the hub. The propeller governor remained attached to the engine.

The engine and its accessories were examined. Manual rotation of the engine’s crankshaft produced compression on all six cylinders. The left and right magnetos were removed, and sparks were observed on all towers when each magneto’s input shaft was rotated with an electric drill. Borescope examination of the cylinders revealed no anomalies. The fuel injector servo remained attached to the engine and was partially disassembled and no damage noted.

The servo fuel inlet screen was unobstructed. The flow divider and diaphragm were undamaged, and the fuel injector nozzles were unobstructed. The engine driven fuel pump remained attached to the engine and produced air at the outlet port when actuated by hand. Liquid with an odor consistent with aviation gasoline was observed in the fuel hoses forward of the firewall, in the engine driven fuel pump, fuel injector servo, and fuel flow divider.

Recovered fuel was absent of water and debris. The sparkplug electrodes exhibited dark gray coloration and nearly new condition when compared to Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug Card AV-27. No debris was observed in the oil suction screen or on the oil filter media. The examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.