December 13, 2008, Sebring, Fla., Ercoupe 415-D


At 1206 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed during an in-flight breakup. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. A friend of the accident pilot, who is also a certificated aircraft mechanic, flew with the pilot in the accident airplane immediately prior to the accident flight and did not note any abnormalities with the performance of either the airplane or the pilot.

A witness saw the airplane pitching up and rolling into a steep left bank. From his position, he could see the bottom of the airplane, as well as both wings. He noted that while the airplane was banking, both ailerons were “fluttering” at a high frequency. The bank angle increased to almost 90 degrees, when the left wing of the airplane “folded back” and separated from the fuselage. The airplane then pivoted about the lateral axis 90 degrees, and the right wing then separated from the fuselage along with a portion of the cabin. The wings “fluttered” or “twirled” to the ground, while the portion of the cabin continued forward and down to the ground. He recalled hearing three distinct “thuds” as the pieces of the airplane impacted the ground.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here