This May 2008 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Replica Dickenson Bathtub. Injuries: Fatal. Location: Broadhead, Wis. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The airplane was an amateur-built replica of a 1924 Dormoy Bathtub. It had a single strut-braced, fabric-covered parasol-mounted wing. The fuselage consisted of an open cockpit with a single tubular structure running along the bottom and aft to the tail surfaces. Two additional tubular supports ran from the trailing edge of the wing to the top of the vertical tail. The private pilot, 77, had logged 1,400 hours as of the date of his most recent medical examination. The accident flight was his first flight in the amateur-built airplane.
According to a witness, as the airplane turned from the left base leg of the airport traffic pattern to final approach, its bank angle increased to the point where it stalled and entered a spin. Another witness reported that he believed the accident was the result of a stall/spin. Neither witness reported hearing any engine malfunctions.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during approach, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.