An accident near Winters, CA, fatally injured the pilot of a 1959 Avions Fairey Tipsy Nipper T-66 Wednesday, and witnesses said that the airplane appeared to break up in flight.
The accident occurred about 1615 PST, according to the California Highway Patrol. The pilot, identified as Jeffery Sharman of Vacaville, CA, was the only person on board.
The Reporter newspaper of Vacaville, CA, indicates that FAA records list the airplane in the "experimental" category. A witness said an unusual engine sound caught his attention, and when he looked up, he saw the airplane "spiraling down from the sky." The witness said he saw "pieces of the aircraft" falling along with the airplane, but did not see the actual impact.
Officials said one of the airplane's wings was found in the median of a highway about a half mile from the main wreckage. NTSB spokesman Peter Knutson said the wing appeared to have separated while Sharman was performing an aerobatic maneuver.
Those who knew Sharman said he was an experienced aviator who had been flying most of his life, calling him an "ambassador" for the Nut Tree airport in Vacaville (KVBC).