Monday, March 30, 2020

North American P-51D Mustang replica, N151JD: Fatal accident occurred March 29, 2020 near Mesquite Metro Airport (KHQZ), Texas -and- Incident occurred November 23, 2016 at Mesquite Metro Airport (KHQZ)

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Irving, Texas

Location: Mesquite, TX
Accident Number: CEN20LA134
Date & Time: 03/29/2020, 1518 CDT
Aircraft: MUSE P51D
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 29, 2020, at 1518 central daylight time, an amateur-built Muse P51D airplane, N151JD, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from the Mesquite Metro Airport (HQZ), Mesquite, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A witness recalled seeing the airplane during takeoff as it was about halfway down the runway. It appeared to be maintaining the runway heading in a "steep, aggressive climb out." Just past the departure end of the runway, the airplane entered a "steep, climbing right turn." The engine sound decreased slightly for a short time before increasing again. As the airplane appeared to be turning to downwind, it "seemed to enter a stall and rapidly began losing altitude. Midway through the stall, the airplane repositioned to an almost direct nose down position." He subsequently lost sight of the airplane behind a tree line. During the final portion of the descent, he "heard the throttle being manipulated, followed by the impact and explosion."

A second witness reported the takeoff appeared normal and the engine sounded good at that time. The airplane entered a right turn and became established on a right crosswind. The airplane subsequently entered a right turn to downwind and rolled wings level for about 5 to 10 seconds before it entered another right turn. The turn appeared to be controlled at first but gradually got steeper as it progressed. About 90° through that turn, the bank angle was about 65° (right wing down) and by the time the airplane reached 180° through the turn, the nose of the airplane was oriented "nearly straight down." During the descent, the elevator appeared to be deflected trailing edge up and the airplane appeared to pitch up "just a little bit." The airframe appeared to be intact during the entire flight.

Automated Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data revealed the airplane departed from runway 36 at 1517 and appeared to enter a right traffic pattern. The airplane leveled about 1,800 ft. mean sea level (msl) on a crosswind before beginning a turn from crosswind to downwind about 1518:44. About 3 seconds later, the airplane entered a descending right turn from about 1,700 ft. msl. The final data point was recorded at 1518:53; the altitude was about 900 ft. The average descent rate over the last 6 seconds of data was about 8,000 ft per minute.

Figure 1 -- Plot of Airplane Position Data

The accident site was located in an agricultural field about 0.80 miles northwest from the departure end of runway 36 at HQZ. The airplane was fragmented. The engine and propeller came to rest in the ground impact crater. Portions the wings, empennage, and flight controls were observed at the site.

Figure 2 -- Accident Site

Figure 3 -- Main Wreckage at the Accident Site

The wreckage was recovered from the accident site. Airframe and engine examinations will be conducted at a later date. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MUSE
Registration: N151JD
Model/Series: P51D
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HQZ, 447 ft msl
Observation Time: 2019 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Mesquite, TX (HQZ)
Destination: Mesquite, TX (HQZ)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 32.761944, -96.515556

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — UPDATE [March 30] — The Texas Department of Public Safety has identified the pilot killed in a plane crash yesterday afternoon as 72-year-old James Ireland of Fort Worth, Texas.

Ireland, according to FAA records, was a certified private pilot with a single-engine, fixed-wing, land aircraft rating — or Airplane Single Engine Land (ASEL).

ORIGINAL [March 29] — The Texas Department of Public Safety is confirming one person has died as a result of a single-occupant plane crash near the Kaufman-Dallas County line.

The crash occurred at approximately 3:20 p.m. in the 15000 block of U.S. Highway 80, Texas Department of Public Safety Staff Sergeant Kyle Bradford told

A single-engine P-51D Mustang, with one person onboard, crashed under unknown circumstances shortly after departing from Mesquite Municipal Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Lynn Lunsford told

Bradford says witnesses reported seeing the plane, further described as a home-built replica, take a nosedive.

Emergency personnel were initially dispatched to the area of Lawson Road and East Scyene Road — which is located adjacent the Mesquite Municipal Airport — on reports of a possible plane down in the area.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were called to investigate the cause of the crash.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dallas, Texas

November 23, 2016:  Aircraft on taxi went off the taxiway and the gear collapsed. 

Date: 23-NOV-16

Time: 16:54:00Z
Regis#: N151JD
Aircraft Make:
Aircraft Model: P51
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
State: Texas


  1. Pilot identified. Witnesses "reported seeing the plane, further described as a home-built replica, take a nosedive".

  2. James L. Ireland, Ft. Worth, Texas
    N3825A SCHWEIZER SGS 1-26A

    1. No wonder we can't find hangar space @ HQZ

  3. "No wonder we can't find hangar space @ HQZ"

    I'm sure you can if the politics works in that city like some others I know of: you just buy your way in with airport hangar expansion "support."

  4. All of Jim Ireland's aircraft are actually based at Spinks Airport in South Fort Worth, not Mesquite. He was in Mesquite putting the third or fourth flight on the replica P-51.

    He was a great friend and is greatly missed.

    1. Sorry about your friend. Over the years, I've lost 12 friends in plane crashes. It never gets any easier, but time gradually helps take the edge off of it.

    2. 12 ? That's way too many to lose. I know 4 that died in small plane crashes.

  5. But what kind of replica was it ? anyone with specs and photo's ?

    1. Since the NTSB prelim report doesn't name a version, it may have been a one-off build. Perhaps the final report will answer the question of what the builder says was built.

      Meanwhile, there appears to be a three sided composite wing spar visible in the wreckage photos. That spar does not look like any spar visible in available build photos of several well known P-51 fractional replicas. Maybe someone will recognize the spar. The debris photos make it clear that the plane was not a metal skin on metal rib design, so those are eliminated.

    2. Sure does not look like it was build in a ''traditional''way but with the available info like ''Joseph D Muse build'' , the N number and c/n number F869 there is so little to find at the moment.
      The real tragedy is of course the passing of Mr Ireland , condolencens to all close to him.

    3. It wasn't a Loehle 5151 either, comparing spar in wreckage to the wing structure shown at:

      The mystery of the aircraft continues...

    4. Based on the "F" designation serial number, wonder if it was a Falconar/Jurca P-51 replica?

    5. One Falconar SAL / Jurca is listed with serial number 25 (no F):

      Haven't been able to find images of wing spar for Falconar/Jurca P-51, but Falconar did offer two-seat version plans using wood, fiberglass and some fabric technique called HIPEC.
      There are old Jurca vids:

      Another 80's replica was Fight Escort Wings (FEW) from Ardmore, OK. No spar pix found for it either.

      Mystery still ongoing!

  6. On the Homebuilt Airplanes website, there are a bunch of builders talking about this. The airplane was a Falconar SAL. It was powered by a Chevrolet LS V8. They had had issues with the ECU but it isn't clear that that had caused an engine failure. At any rate, it wouldn't cause a stall-spin scenario.

    1. Was posted in the accident thread, here is the link:

      First post said "apparently lost power and spun in with full fuel."

  7. A Falconar SAL , we may probably never know what caused this tragic crash.
    Will this be investigated by the way ?
    Personal flight in a homebuild/experimental plane ?

    1. The entire text of this article is taken from the NTSB's preliminary report, investigation number CEN20LA134. It'll be at least a year before the NTSB publishes its final report of the accident.