The Trike Remained In The Spin Until It Impacted The Ground
Location: Santa Teresa, NM Accident Number: WPR23FA138
Date & Time: April 1, 2023, 07:35 Local Registration: UNREG
Aircraft: Aerotrike Cobra Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal
On April 1, 2023, about 0735 mountain daylight time, an unregistered Aerotrike Cobra weight shift control (WSC) light sport airplane, commonly referred to as a “Trike” was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.
According to family members, the pilot departed from the Dona Ana County International Jetport Airport (DNA), Santa Teresa, New Mexico, the morning of the accident. The pilot planned to meet up with a friend who was flying in the area. The friend, who was conducting an instructional tandem flight in a powered parachute, witnessed the trike to the north of his position about 1,100 ft above ground level (agl), in level flight. He then saw the trike turn towards his position to the south and then enter a flat spin. The trike remained in the spin until it impacted the ground. He further stated that the engine appeared to be operating normally and he didn’t see anything broken or deformed with the wing while it was in the flat spin.
Nearby witnesses reported hearing the impact with the ground and subsequent explosion. An examination of the accident site revealed that the trike impacted a street surface near an intersection. A small area fire ensued consuming some of the wreckage and portions of nearby trees. The wing structure and carriage, which remained attached, had impact and thermal damage.
The wreckage was relocated to a secured facility for further examination.