PUBLISHED: 15:34 19 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:55 10 October 2012
The test pilot baled out of the C162 prototype, for reasons that are not yet clear
Witnesses on the ground said they saw sparks as the aircraft
fell before crashing into a bank of trees. The pilot was unhurt except for minor injuries.
The aeroplane that crashed
is the non-conforming prototype 162, which first flew in
March, not the production-spec
SkyCatcher seen at Oshkosh. It had over 150 flying hours. The structure survived the impact largely intact,
with the wing and empennage still attached to the fuselage.
The aircraft was seen to descend in a spiral dive, leading to speculation that the pilot may have been spin testing and was unable to recover. Another possibility is flutter - a relatively common cause of bale-outs from prototypes undergoing testing.