Immediately After Turning East, The Airplane Seemed To Lose All Control

Location: Fairland, IN Accident Number: CEN24FA045
Date & Time: November 22, 2023, 16:46 Local Registration: N17DT
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp SR22T Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Instructional

On November 22, 2023, at 1646 eastern standard time, a Cirrus SR22T, N17DT, was involved in an accident near Fairland, Indiana. The airplane was destroyed. The flight instructor and pilot were fatally injured. The airplane was operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight.

A witness who was traveling eastbound on I-74 saw a small airplane to her left flying over a field southbound. The witness stated that the airplane was very low and looked stalled or as if it was hovering or hanging. The witness estimated the airplane’s altitude as 200 ft above ground level. As the airplane approached the witness’s position, it took a sharp turn to the left or east. Immediately after turning east, the airplane seemed to lose all control. The left wing dipped, and the airplane was fully sideways; the wings were vertical. The airplane rotated to the right with the wings vertical. The witness thought that the airplane rotated to the left one more time and then leveled out extremely low to the ground. The airplane disappeared behind trees at an estimated altitude of 50-100 ft above ground level. A second or two after disappearing behind the trees, the witness saw a fireball and thick black smoke. The witness stated that no parts came off the airplane and there was no deployment of the rocket from the airplane’s parachute system before the airplane’s impact with the ground.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that it was destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The main wreckage was in a corn field and included the fuselage, wings, empennage, and engine. The airplane was oriented on a tail to nose southwesterly heading. The main wreckage was about 40 ft from a ground scar that exhibited impressions of the left and right wing leading edges with an airplane nose impression in the center of both wing impressions. The nose impression contained propeller blades. There were marks consistent in shape with propeller slash marks near the outermost area of the right wing impression.

Postaccident examination of the flight control system confirmed continuity. The wing flap jack screw extension equated to fully retracted wing flaps. The aileron trim was neutral. The elevator motor extension could not be determined due to impact damage.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.