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Old 11-11-2022, 01:50 PM
RV8JD's Avatar
RV8JD RV8JD is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 737
Default NTSB Final Report, RV-6, N628JB, 8/27/2020

Link to NTSB Final Report -->

Link to Docket -->

Aviation Investigation Final Report

Location: Milton, Delaware
Accident Number: ERA20CA298
Date & Time: August 27, 2020, 14:00 Local
Aircraft: Vans RV6
Registration: N628JB
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The purpose of the flight was for the pilots to calibrate a newly installed avionic equipment in the airplane. The owner of the airplane was seated in the airplane’s right seat, while the other pilot, who was acting as pilot-in-command for the flight was seated in the left seat. After takeoff, the pilot handed off controls to the owner and requested that the owner perform two 360° turns while he calibrated the equipment. After the two turns, the owner let go of the flight controls and the pilot manipulated the controls to demonstrate the functioning of the g-meter. Both the pilot and the owner believed the other was flying the airplane after this demonstration. After deciding that they would return to the departure airport, the airplane was flying low and almost impacted the ground twice. On both occasions, the pilot pulled up, then once again let go of the controls believing that the owner was flying the airplane. Both expressed discomfort with how the other was flying the airplane, but neither communicated their concerns to the other in a way that was understood, nor did either confirm who was flying the airplane. The third time the airplane neared terrain, the owner called for the pilot to pull up just as the pilot was about to take control of the airplane. The airplane then impacted a field, flipped over, and came to rest inverted. The fuselage, wings, and empennage of the airplane sustained substantial damage. Both the pilot and owner stated that there were no preimpact malfunctions or failures of the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot and owner’s failure to adequately communicate and establish an understanding of who was flying the airplane, and their failure to take timely action to avoid a collision with terrain.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++

Some further analysis:
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Carl N.

Last edited by RV8JD : 11-11-2022 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 11-11-2022, 02:11 PM
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Tandem46 Tandem46 is online now
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Now that is truly unbelievable….glad no one was hurt.
RV-7 Flying since 2004
IO-360 1 LSE & WW200RV
1,200 hrs+
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Old 11-11-2022, 02:19 PM
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Bill Boyd Bill Boyd is online now
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Default "Your airplane." "My airplane."

I could almost believe this if it were a tandem model where neither could see the other's hands.

But it's a side-by-side, so I'm going with "I just cannot..."
Bill Boyd

Hop-Along Aerodrome (12VA)
RV-6A - N30YD - Built '98 / sold '20
RV-10 - N130YD - 80 hours
66 years running stock DNA
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Old 11-11-2022, 03:54 PM
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Dan 57 Dan 57 is offline
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Spot on analysis Carl!
- ain't the Destination, but the Journey -
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Old 11-11-2022, 04:04 PM
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wcalvert wcalvert is online now
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From day one almost 40 years ago it was MANDATORY to verbally pass the controls to the other pilot at every exchange, with a stick wag if you were in a tandem aircraft. Seemed like a big PITA at first, but the gravity of it became crystal clear as time went on.

Even today, I do it in my own plane, including to non pilots (YE flights) ... it's a way to fix in MY mind who is flying and help them understand the same, and maybe instills an early habit in a wanna be pilot to be.

Super happy to hear that these two are able to tell their story. An old saying is that "the ground has a PK of 1" (PK=probability of kill), they were very lucky.

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Bill (Wild) VA-165 '90-'93
Anacortes, Wa

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Old 11-11-2022, 11:23 PM
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Draker Draker is offline
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I can’t believe what I just read there. That it happened twice prior in the same flight and was not addressed is even more unbelievable. Sounds like a good pre-engine start checklist item: agree (out loud) about who the PIC is and what the control hand-off procedure shall be.
Ryan Drake
Cameron Airpark, CA
Donated 12/16/2022
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Old 11-12-2022, 02:17 AM
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rv8ch rv8ch is offline
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Another excellent reminder that the fundamentals are fundamental. Simple things, when ignored, can kill you. Many people have been killed or injured due to missed preflights, not following a simple checklist, and otherwise not following what we all know as "good practice". It can happen to any of us.
Mickey Coggins
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Old 11-12-2022, 04:57 AM
Desert Rat Desert Rat is offline
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Location: Wichita KS
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Carl, Thanks for sharing this. I'm forwarding this link to several people outside of VAF.

My first reaction was to wonder how the heck is this even possible, but then I started thinking about all the accidents where a very competent pilot flew right into a mountain/ocean/whatever while another very component pilot watched it happen.

The linked article is really interesting in that it gets into mindset that led to this.
Terry Shortt
AGI, CFI, CFII, MEI, A&P, Janitor
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Fuselage almost done
Avionics almost done
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Old 11-12-2022, 05:22 AM
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Bill Boyd Bill Boyd is online now
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Default You can't help but wonder...

What would the NTSB likely conclusion have been if this had ended in two fatals?

There would be much grasping at straws to posit a medical or environmental event that simultaneously befell two healthy, competent pilots, or a suicidal impulse that left the other no time to react.

It's unlikely we would ever know that the truth was like the joke about the two blue-haired ladies who kept running red lights: "Oh! Am I driving?!"
Bill Boyd

Hop-Along Aerodrome (12VA)
RV-6A - N30YD - Built '98 / sold '20
RV-10 - N130YD - 80 hours
66 years running stock DNA
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Old 11-12-2022, 10:35 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
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Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
I think from the description of the events that it's clear that there wasn't any control at all. I can't even conceive how this could happen...
Rob Prior
1996 RV-6 "Tweety" C-FRBP (formerly N196RV)
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