A/C Went ‘Into A Steep Dive In Excess Of 10000FPM At A Calculated Groundspeed Of About 170 Kts’

Location: New Washington, IN Accident Number: CEN20LA214
Date & Time: 06/06/2020, 1523 EDT Registration: N13520
Aircraft: Cessna 172 Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation – Instructional

On June 6, 2020, at 1523 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172 airplane, N13520, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near New Washington, Indiana. The student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the flight school who owned the airplane, the student pilot was to conduct a solo practice flight in preparation for his private pilot check ride. The flight was to include maneuvers in the northeast practice area, which was near New Washington. The pilot’s flight instructor stated that he was tracking the airplane on his phone and the flight track disappeared about 20 minutes into the flight. The pilot was supposed to return by 1700.

The recorded ADS-B data revealed that the airplane departed Bowman Field Airport (LOU), Louisville, Kentucky, at 1509 and proceeded northeast along the Ohio River and climbed to about 3,000 ft above ground level. About 2 nm south of New Washington, the airplane completed 3 consecutive left steep turn maneuvers and remained about 3,000 ft agl.

At 1523:09 the airplane descended and headed southeast, which continued into a steep dive in excess of 10,000 ft per minute at a calculated groundspeed of about 170 kts. The final ADS-B data was recorded at 1523:34 and 165 ft agl.

The airplane wreckage was located in a field and the initial impact point was identified by a few shallow craters and disturbance of dirt (figure 2). The wreckage path was oriented on a 130° heading and extended about 300 yards. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site and there was no post impact fire. The responding Federal Aviation Administration inspectors completed an initial examination of the wreckage debris, which was scattered across the field. The flight cables remained attached to their respective control surfaces and exhibited overload separations. The propeller had separated from the engine and was found about 30 yards from the initial impact. The wings both separated from the fuselage at the wing roots and were about 100 yards from the  initial impact point. The engine separated from its mount and was about 220 yards from the initial impact point. The farthest piece of wreckage was a portion of the left fuel tank and filler port.

The airplane has been retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov