Airplane Was In A “Nose Down, Left Spin” Before It Disappeared Behind A Tree Line

Location: Darlington, IN Accident Number: CEN21FA252
Date & Time: June 6, 2021, 10:20 Local Registration: N853L
Aircraft: DIAMOND AIRCRAFT IND INC DA 40 NG Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Instructional

On June 6, 2021, about 1020 eastern daylight time, a Diamond Aircraft DA 40 NG airplane, N853L, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Darlington, Indiana. The pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 141 instructional flight.

A review of Automatic Dependent Surveillance -Broadcast (ADS-B) data revealed the airplane departed from the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) and flew northwest at an altitude of about 4,000 ft mean sea level (msl). At the time of the accident, the flight was not in contact with air traffic control. A witness located in a house nearby heard the airplane’s engine, an impact, and then quiet. Another witness heard the airplane and looked up; the airplane was in a “nose down, left spin” before it disappeared behind a tree line. He added that it sounded like the propeller was at a high rpm before impact.

Ground scars and wreckage were consistent with the airplane’s impact with terrain in a slight right wing low, nose down attitude. The main wreckage was near its initial impact point on a heading of about 37°. The wreckage was highly fragmented with scattered debris that extended for about 75 yards. A preliminary review of the airplane’s Garmin G1000 flight data also revealed the airplane departure and northwesterly track. The flight data revealed several turns, engine power, and altitude changes, consistent with the airplane maneuvering. The data also revealed the airplane was about 4,000 ft msl when engine power was reduced; as the airspeed decreased, the airplane’s pitch attitude increased.

The airplane’s pitch then decreased to a nose down attitude, and the airplane made a right, spiral turn consistent with a stall and spin entry.