NTSB has done a preliminary report on the accident. The report liens towards a wind gust that ripped the right wing fabric, but the report says there were 5 mph winds which is like nothing. Sounds like the wing failed for some reason. The picture is what one looks like.
Page 1 of 2 ERA22LA427
This information is preliminary and subject to change.
Aviation Investigation Preliminary Report
Location: Southern Shores, NC Accident Number: ERA22LA427
Date & Time: September 21, 2022, 10:00 Local Registration: N3283N
Aircraft: NORTHWING DESIGN APACHE
SPORT Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal
On September 21, 2022, about 1000 eastern daylight time, a Northwing Design aircraft, N3283N, was
substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Southern Shores, North Carolina. The
private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The weight-shift control
aircraft was operated as a Title 14?Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.
The passenger stated that his step-father performed a thorough preflight inspection which he also
performed, then the flight departed and flew north along the coast. After twice orbiting a house they
were staying at his step-father turned and proceeded south just offshore to return to the departure airport.
While en-route his father mentioned that the flight might encounter turbulence then about 5 minutes
later while flying about 400 yards offshore at 3,500 ft mean sea level between 55 and 60 miles-per-hour,
with scattered clouds below them, the passenger reported, it felt like “something punched the plane”
consistent with turbulence. He felt an upwards jar, then the airplane was out of control. It started
spiralling to the right and while descending towards the ocean he felt a force consistent with activation
of the airframe parachute, but he could not recall what altitude that was at. After water impact he
struggled but managed to release his restraint and remained in the water about 30 minutes before being
rescued. He further stated that when he felt the jar he looked to the right wing and noted “bracing
material” sticking out of the wing fabric and the right side of the wing was no longer stretched and was
much smaller than the left side of the wing.
The fuselage portion of the wreckage without the wing washed ashore south of where the accident
occurred and was first spotted on October 5, 2022. The wreckage was retained for further examination.