"On July 14, 2013, approximately 2015 eastern daylight time, a Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 40 ARF, HAN 1675, piloted by a member of the Irish Hills Radio Control Club, crashed into a small pond at the Irish Hills RC field near Napoleon, MI, following a loss of control due to dumb thumbs. The pilot and two onlookers were not injured. The aircraft suffered substantial damage. Day VFR meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed.The flight originated as a normal RC sport operation at the club field.
The aircraft impacted the pond in a near-vertical, high speed descent. Post-impact examination revealed the engine was creating near-maximum power at time of impact. During post-crash inspection, flight control continuity was established and there were no apparent anomalies with the aircraft, engine, or radio equipment.
On-site interviews were conducted. The pilot stated he was doing '...my normal s***...', to include an outside snap at take-off and 'occasional stick-bangin', dude'. The onlookers said they were torn between 'morbid fascination' and self-preservation behind their vehicle. Just prior to impact, the pilot stated he was attempting a recovery from a low, inverted position and, '...it all went to crap in a half-second.'
The NTSB determines the probable cause of this accident to be the pilot's running out of airspeed, altitude, and ideas while operating well beyond the scope of his mediocre ability. Contributing factors were the pilot's previous attempts at the Figure-7 maneuver, an inverted version of a Figure-9. It is the Board's recommendation that any remedial training of the pilot would be a massive waste of time and resources. A final outcome is pending before the Board. "