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NTSB Releases Preliminary Report From Northrop N9M Accident

Airplane Was Observed Performing A 'Barrel Roll'

The NTSB has released its preliminary report from an accident involving the only known airworthy example of a Northrop N9M which went down April 22 near Norco, CA.

The airplane was destroyed when it impacted the outpatient housing yard of the California Rehabilitation Center. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Planes of Fame Air Museum under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from the Chino Airport, Chino, California, about 1202 local time.

Multiple witnesses located near the accident site reported observing the airplane flying on a north eastern heading at a low altitude when it performed a "barrel roll." Several witnesses reported that after the maneuver, the airplane "wobbled [from] side to side" before the airplane's canopy separated. Shortly after, the airplane entered a steep right turn, and descended into the ground in a nose low attitude.

Examination of the accident site revealed a debris path that was about 474 ft in length, 200 ft wide, and oriented on a magnetic heading of about 124°. All major structural components of the airplane were observed within the wreckage debris path.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

(Source: NTSB. Image from file)

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