Accident (G-202, Newburgh NY, 2015)


Dear All,

What a tragic incident:

Does anyone know if Andrew Wright had reinforced the tail after the French accident?

Best, Lars


Your post

Mv031161's picture

What french accident?



Never mind

Mv031161's picture

Never mind..i know what you are asking now..

I look forward to seeing some

I look forward to seeing some rigorous first-hand analysis of this accident as it poses questions for all of us.   Does anyone know if this aircraft had a larger rudder fitted (MX?) as some other 202s have after a rebuild or modification?

I am anxiously awaiting some

I am anxiously awaiting some information about this failure.  I don't have any firsthand knowledge, but from the photos, it looks like it had the stock Giles tail.


It seems like it may have teared in the line between the glassfiber and carbonfiber. We've been in contact with MX and they were themselves conducting their own investigation.

Andrews aircraft had also a

Mv031161's picture

Andrews aircraft had also a damage history in the tail section. At the time of the accident his Vne of 220 was estimaded to be exceeding by almost 40 kias. He was doing this same routine over and over week after week.....still waiting for the NTSB report.,


Hi:  What damage history are you referring to on Andrews airplane?

accident analysis?

Has the official accident analysis been published?  It seems there is some knowledge of the cause of the structural breakup, since Bully Aeroplane Works is advertising a structural upgrade program on Barnstormers.  I'm interested in learning definitively whether there is any reason to be concerned about the strength of G200 tail.  This accident seems to have cast some doubt on the strength of both the 200 and 202.  I think that whatever is known about the cause, once it is official, should be posted here and on the Acro Exploder.

Still waiting for the NTSB to

Still waiting for the NTSB to do their thing.

Last week I stopped by Bully Aeroplane Works and had a chance to see their tail modification in person. I am very impressed with what they have done and, regardless of what the NTSB reports about Andrews crash, this is a definite improvement in the tail design.

Two years later...

webmaster's picture

I spoke to the NTSB's lead investigator on August 4th. He hopes to have the report finished by the end of August 2017, and invited me to check in with him then. Approvals and release will take about another month after that.

Accident Docket Released

webmaster's picture

The NTSB released the accident docket on Sept. 8th, 2017, available at:

The docket contains various reports about the accident including materials, video studies, toxicology, etc. This is not the Final Report and it does not list a probable cause. Nonetheless it contains a wealth of information, notably the manufacturer's recommended inspection procedure for the tail area.

Further steps

So, we now know the exact part which failed in both G202 crashes. Any thoughts on possible ways of reinforcing it?

Recommended Giles 202 Inspection Procedure

An open letter to all G-200 and G-202 owners,

First and most importantly I wish to reach out to those who loved and knew Andrew Wright. Your loss and pain are unspeakable. Nothing can ever fill the hole that was left by his way too early departure. He is missed by all of the aerobatic and airshow community and especially by the G-202 and G-200 family.


Secondly,a word of thanks to those who contributed to the NTSB’s investigation over the last 2 years, Chris Meyers, Greg Howard, Eric Minnis, and the specialists at the NTSB labs provided information and insight that is unprecedented in the study of composite structures and the unique loads aerobatic maneuvers place on our airframes. It is important to note that the very fine people at NTSB took an unusual interest in this investigation due to the G-202’s all carbon fiber construction. It has taken longer than any of us desired to get to the Final Report but I believe the result has been worth it.


I believe that those who have taken the time to thoroughly review the Final Report and the Docket that was released earlier, have noted the same thing… a clean, definitive single cause for the failure has proven elusive. There are a number of contributing causes as noted in the Final Report and all are significant. A lesson to all of us is that tragic accidents don’t usually have just one cause and often the chain of failure can be identified and broken before the final event.


Even though tempted, I will not respond to all the various comments that this thread has already generated and are sure to come. My thanks so far to Bob Stark and Gary Ward for lending their experience and wisdom, I am available offline to answer any question or offer comment to those who wish to contact me. I will attempt here to outline what I believe to be the facts we know and try to refute the various rumors that we know are false. I have also attached the recommended inspection procedure that I wrote and was included in the NTSB Docket. It is especially important to note that even though the G-202 was produced as a kit and was approved for the 51% rule of the FAA for Amateur Built aircraft each aircraft is different and it was and remains the responsibility of the builder and now the owner to determine the limitations and airworthiness of their own unique machine. Perhaps as informative as the actual examination the failure aircraft has been the examination of other examples of the fleet. I have been impressed by both the professionalism and craftsmanship of some of the completions and appalled by some of the modifications and repairs that have been done in the field by persons that often fail to document their work, Often, however, modifications and deviations from instructions by original builders, while done with good intentions and the desire to make the aircraft their own, have resulted in unique airframes that cannot rely on the engineering data that was derived for and by the prototypes. Weight is always an issue with aircraft and none more so than our small aerobatic machines. The prototype G-202 weighed 968 lbs and quite a number of examples were built as light or lighter, many others gained weight as electrical systems and finish weights were not carefully monitored. It has been a surprise that most current owners I have spoken to over the last 2 years do not know what their aircraft weighs or where their CG is but they do know that their airplane is good for +-10gs! The very first item of the recommendations is to weigh the aircraft and reestablish appropriate limitations. I am frequently asked for a POH for the G-200 or G-202 and I have to remind the current owner that it is impossible for anyone other than the original builder to provide that information. I am most happy and eager to assist each current owner in establishing safe limitations but we must start with an accurate weight and balance. Part of the process of establishing appropriate limitations is a basic understanding of those limits and the unique loads imposed on aerobatic aircraft. Especially of note is maximum snap roll speed, unfortunately FAA loads information and standards give us no guidance for snap rolls and gyroscopic maneuvers. Again, I am available and most happy to discuss the issue and assist as much as I can.


The second part of the recommendations is three-fold, a visual examination before further flight, an in-depth examination of the internal tail structure, and repair of deficiencies if noted. These steps focus on making sure the airframe was constructed properly and has been maintained, and repaired as necessary, in an appropriate manor. Exotic testing is not necessary to determine if proper techniques and materials were utilized, however, an experienced and trained eye is required. That is the reason I have listed only a few known individuals to accomplish the second phase of the inspection procedure. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. All of us know of a guy who knows a guy who is a composite expert and whiz. Please take your airplane to one of the people listed or call me and we will find a way for your airplane to be inspected and repaired if necessary in a correct manor.


Lastly, almost everyone wants to know about modifications to the tail. As Bob Stark and Gary Ward have noted already, many G-202s have accumulated hundreds of hours of consistent rigorous aerobatic use and those airframes continue to perform safely today. However, it is my belief that if we can make something better and safer we should take full advantage and I support those efforts. There are currently at least 4 different variations of tail “improvements” available, Shortly after the French accident of several years ago, CAP issued a procedure that added a strap method of attachment for the front of the horizontal stabilizer. Eric Minnis of Bully Aero has inspected quite a few G-202s and has developed a modification that he has installed on several airframes. His mod involves the addition of a cello bulkhead and the replacement of the vertical stab skins with new carbon fiber skins. At least two airframes have had MX tails installed, which also move the rudder aft approximately 7 inches and utilizes the MX bulkheads and stabilizer attachment methods. Finally, I am currently offering new carbon fiber fin skins which utilize the original method of attachment with slight variations. A complete discussion of the merits of each is too long for this post, however, I am eager to discuss each at length with those who wish to contact me offline. Suffice it to say here that while a tail modification may not be required for airframes that are correctly constructed and flown within limits established with regard to the design, many if not all owners will want to implement one of the mods. Again, I am eager to discuss the merits of each and assist in choosing what might be appropriate for each individual airframe. To that end and to facilitate a single source of support for the G-series of airplanes I have entered into an agreement with Jack Moshovis, the current owner of MX Aircraft, and Eric Minnis of Bully Aero to provide parts and support for the above mentioned modifications. While I will provide parts kits, Bully Aero will continue to be the exclusive provider of installations of their modification.


As a final note I should mention that almost all of the above has been focused on the G-202 airframe. The G-200 was never offered in a full kit form and most were completed by professional builders who understood the unique processes required. The G-200 airframe is also just enough different in design and construction to render the current investigation only partially applicable. Again, I am available to discuss those differences and to make recommendations to individual owners. Please contact me offline for assistance.


PLEASE NOTE: I am currently out of the country and have limited phone or internet access until October 1st. I will respond to emails daily however voicemails have proven a bit more tricky and sometimes do not show up in a timely manor.



Richard Giles

(503) 970-5898


Recommended Giles 202

Recommended Giles 202 Inspection Procedure



The Giles G-200 and G-202 aircraft were offered to amateur builders as parts and kits to be constructed and certified under the FAA’s EXPERIMENTAL Amateur-Built provisions. Parts, and later kits were made available from AkroTech Aviation and information was provided to assist the builder’s efforts. Specifications, performance, and operational limitations were established for the two prototypes and made available as part of that information. Later, a “51% Approval” was obtained from the FAA for the G-202 and a manual was developed and continually revised as information came back to AkroTech from the builders. A combined total of approximately 80 sets or partial sets of parts were eventually sold. 

While every example built by the individual parts and kit purchaser was visually quite similar to the prototype each builder’s techniques, skills, methods, and ideas varied. Almost every builder modified the design somewhat and added or deleted features to meet their own tastes and desire to customize the aircraft.

The operational experience of the combined fleet now well exceeds 40,000 flight hours with many examples well over 1,200 hours. Almost all of the aircraft have been flown in aerobatic competition and airshows with many flown extensively in the unlimited category. While this history demonstrates the integrity of the design, there have been two structural failures that share some common elements. Investigations and the subsequent inspection of several examples have revealed significant builder variations, maintenance and repairs using inappropriate materials and methods, and operations outside the design envelope.  

Elimination and control of these risk factors is essential for continued operational safety of the Giles fleet.

Of primary concern is the review, and revision as appropriate, of all Operational Limitations of the specific individual aircraft. Exceeding Limitations results in loads being imposed on the structure that in some cases are exponential in magnitude. It is absolutely essential that appropriate Operational Limitations be established and adhered to safeguard the integrity of the design.

Recommended Actions:

  • Review of Limitations
  • Inspection of Aircraft
  • Structural Repair and/or Modification as Indicated



1.Weight and Balance

  1. Verify the empty weight and CG of the aircraft.
  2. Review the weight and CG limits for the operations intended.
  3. Revise limits if necessary and document new Limitations as required.


2.Airspeed Limitations

  1. Verify that the following speeds have been appropriately established and documented.
  1. VS  (Stall speed power off)
  2. VNE  (Never exceed speed)
  3. VA  (Maneuvering speed)
  4. Maximum snap roll speed
  1. Revise limits if necessary and document new Limitations as required.
  2. Revise Airspeed Indicator markings as required.



It is recommended that this inspection be carried out by an FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic familiar with structural composite airframes.

1.Before Further Flight

  1. Visually inspect the tail section of the aircraft for any cracks or checking in the finish around the horizontal stabilizer and vertical fin junction.
  2. Grasp the Horizontal stabilizer at the tip and apply moderate pressure up and down checking for any looseness of attachment.
  3. Grasp the vertical fin paying close attention to the security of the rudder post and the area where the horizontal stab and rudder post intersect as well as the cutout for the elevator tube.

If no checking, cracks, or looseness are observed, the aircraft may be flown to a facility where more extensive inspection may be accomplished.


2.Before Further Aerobatic Flight:

Due to the tooling, experience, and knowledge of composite inspection procedures required, this inspection should be performed by one of the approved inspection facilities listed in the Repair and Modification section below.

a.Remove the elevators and rudder

b.Remove rear seat and baggage area

c.Remove inspection panels

d.Inspect adhesive bond, squeeze-out, adhesive quality, disbonds, cracks and assembly quality of the following components:

  1. Vertical stabilizer spar
  2. Vertical stabilizer skin overlaps to horizontal stabilizer and lower fuselage return flanges
  3. Banjo former
  4. Tailwheel attach brackets and vertical stabilizer pass through
  5. Horizontal stabilizer rear spar and all hinge attachments
  6. Vertical stabilizer spar and all hinge attachments
  7. Lower fuselage to turtle-deck return flange/ adhesive joint from rear seat up to the vertical stabilizer skins and aft to the vertical stabilizer spar
  8. Fillet between the horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer (verify reinforcing tapes present and have been applied correctly)
  9. Elevator push rod clearance with pass through of former.
  10. Rudder cable cutouts and adhesive joints around exits.
  11. External surface of vertical stabilizer to horizontal stabilizer and turtle-deck

Any discrepancies noted during this inspection must be corrected before return to service.


Repair and Modification

Due to the variations that exist in each unique airframe it is impossible to provide a single repair procedure. Following the inspections outlined in this document an individual assessment and recommendation must be established.

The following resources have knowledge, experience and expertise with the Giles aircraft and are available to assist with evaluation and repair.

  • Richard Giles, Designer

Giles Aerobatic Aircraft

(503) 970-5898


Richard has entered into an agreement with the current owners of the G-200 and G-202 molds to provide composite parts manufactured by Composites Universal Group of St. Helens, OR for the repair of G-200 and G-202 airframes. The tail repair/modification kit developed by Eric Minnis is also available from Richard to be installed exclusively by Bully Aero. Most hardware unique to the Giles aircraft is also available.



  • Eric Minnis

Bully Aero

(336) 263-8558


Eric has repaired a number of G-202 airframes and has developed several modifications for the airframe. He has extensive experience and expertise with aerobatic aircraft as well as advanced composites.



  • Ted Backus, Builder of the prototype

Emerald AIrcrafters

(503) 667-3282


Ted was the builder of the prototype G-200 and has extensive experience and expertise with composite airframes. Ted also has at his disposal the resources of Composites Universal Group only a few miles away in St. Helens and Richard Giles in Portland.



  • Joe Gearhart

(269) 816-3904


Joe has built several G-202 airframes and has demonstrated expertise with G-202 construction techniques required for the inspection and repair if needed.