A review of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data revealed that the Diamond DA40 departed the airport in Darlington, Indiana, and flew northwest about 4,000 feet mean sea level (msl). At the time of the accident, the flight was not in radio contact with air traffic control.
A witness heard the airplane, looked up, and saw it 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 the orientation of the wreckage were consistent with an impact in a slight right-wing-low, nose-down attitude. The main wreckage was oriented on a heading of about 037°. The wreckage was highly fragmented with scattered debris that extended about 75 yards. Both the CFI and student pilot died in the crash.
A slight odor of fuel was present, along with fuel blight on vegetation along the debris path. Control continuity was established for all flight controls; separations were consistent with overload or impact damage.
A data card was removed from the flight display and the engine’s electronic engine control unit (EECU), which was damaged in the accident, was also secured for later examination. The EECU was shipped to the engine manufacturer for data download. The exam noted no preimpact abnormalities that would affect engine operation. The engine was running normally and appeared to respond to the power lever requests.
A review of the airplane’s Garmin G1000 data revealed several turns and engine power and altitude changes, consistent with airplane maneuvering. The data revealed that the airplane was about 4,000 feet 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, spiraling turn consistent with a stall and spin entry.
The flight instructor was a graduate of the flight school’s training academy and had earned her flight certificate on March 30, 2021. She had about 329 total hours of flight experience and 44 hours as a flight instructor.
The student pilot had about 16 total hours of flight experience.
The airplane was not approved for spins.
Probable Cause: A loss of control while practicing an aerodynamic stall, which resulted in a spin and impact with terrain.
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This June 2021 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.