Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Diamond DA40 NG, N853L: Fatal accident June 06, 2021 in Darlington, Montgomery County, Indiana

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 traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana 
Lift Training Academy; Indianapolis, Indiana 
Diamond Aircraft; London, Ontario, Canada 

Lift Aircraft LLC
Location: Darlington, IN 
Accident Number: CEN21FA252
Date & Time: June 6, 2021, 10:20 Local 
Registration: N853L
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.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N853L
Model/Series: DA40 NG
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot school (141)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCFJ
Observation Time: 10:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C /17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4500 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 180°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Indianapolis, IN (KIND)
Destination: Darlington, IN

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.114244,-86.75415 (est)
Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Kristen Green

Kristen L. Green
January 6, 1993 - June 6, 2021

Kristen L. Green, 28, of Swisher, Iowa, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 6, 2021, in Indiana. A graveside dedication with family and close friends will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at DuPont Cemetery on Amana Road in rural Swisher. Visitation will be held from 10 – 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, 2021, in the Legacy Center at Murdoch-Linwood in Cedar Rapids. A Celebration of Life service will follow at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Legacy Center. Casual dress is encouraged.

Kristen was born on January 6, 1993, in San Mateo, California, the daughter of Scott and Linda (Moore) Green. She graduated from Linn-Mar High School and went on to obtain her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Kristen was a certified flight instructor at the Lift Academy in Indianapolis. She was an adventurer at heart and enjoyed spending time with family and friends.

Survivors include her parents, Scott and Linda Green of Swisher; siblings, Michael (Jacki) Green of Columbus, Ohio, and Justin (Hannah) Green of Marion; niece, Evelyn Green; grandmother, Lois Moore of Bolivar, Missouri; as well as many extended family members.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family to be used to support Kristen’s favorite organizations.

Benjamin Alexander Corbet
March 20, 2000 - June 06, 2021

Benjamin Alexander Corbet, 21, loving son of Todd and Helena Corbet passed away on Sunday, June 6, 2021.  He was a resident of Franklin.

He was born on March 20, 2000 in Alingsas, Sweden.  Benjamin is survived by his parents, Todd and Helena (Stomberg) Corbet; his brother, Nicholas Corbet; paternal grandfather, Keith Corbet; maternal grandparents, Daga & Bernt Stomberg; Uncles, Scott Corbet (Karen); Mikael Stomberg, Magnus Stomberg (Victoria) and Fredrik Stomberg; cousins, Colton and Mason Corbet and Jesper Stomberg and his Great Aunt, Berit Stomberg (Alf).  He was preceded in passing by his paternal grandmother, Dawn Corbet and great paternal grandmother, Gudrun Beattie.

Benjamin was a 2018 graduate of Franklin Community High School.   He attended Lift Academy; attended one year of the Aviation program at Ivy Tech and one year at Vancouver Island University in Canada.

Benjamin was employed by Kroger in Franklin where he worked as a cashier and at the front desk.

He liked photography and loved to fly.

A gathering for family and friends will be held on Thursday, June 17 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Flinn and Maguire Funeral Home, 2898 North Morton Street, (U.S. 31 North) in Franklin.

Expressions of caring and kindness may be received to the family at www.flinnmaguire.net

DARLINGTON, Indiana (WISH) — A Franklin, Indiana, man and an Iowa woman were identified Wednesday as the two people who died in a plane crash Sunday in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County authorities received a 911 call about 10:20 a.m. Sunday about a small plane in a field north of the intersection of County Road 800 East and State Road 47, Sgt. Jeremy Piers with Indiana State Police said Sunday.

Benjamin Corbet, 21, of Franklin, and Kristen Green, 28, of Swisher, Iowa, died in the crash, the Indiana State Police said in a news release Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday said the Diamond DA40 NG crashed at 10:20 a.m. Sunday in a field just outside the town on Darlington. The area is about 30 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane departed from Lift Academy in Indianapolis at 9:53 a.m. The FAA said it would release the aircraft tail number after investigators confirm it. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the crash.

A spokesperson for Lift Academy shared a statement on Sunday afternoon: “We are heartbroken by this tragic accident and the loss of our team members. We will support their families in any way possible and work with the NTSB to fully investigate this event.”

Lift Academy, the Leadership in Flight Training Academy, is headquartered near the northeast end of the campus of the Indianapolis International Airport. It opened in September 2018 and is owned and operated by Republic Airways, a regional airline also headquartered in Indianapolis. Republic operates daily flights for American Airline, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. The academy offers three programs, including a pathway to a career with Republic. Eight pilots from the academy’s first group of students began their careers with Republic on June 1.


  1. Can't find any info on this yet. Anybody had any success on finding details?

    1. Apparently a medivac helicopter pilot operating nearby saw then spinning into the ground. Also apparently it was an instructional flight with a CFI and student pilot aboard. ADSB track shows them repeatedly slowing down at altitude and then accelerating shortly after, with a slight loss of altitude. That looks like stall recovery practice to me. We can speculate the student put them into an inadvertent spin and CFI was unable to recover. But we won't know until NTSB does their investigation.

    2. Searching doesn't turn up the story about medivac witness or any eyewitness. The "saw it spinning" story needs a link or statement of origin before the thread goes further on that.

  2. Just look up "Darlington plane crash" and you will have all the info you want, they were on a training flight and it seems they didn't recover from a spin.


    1. If looking up "Darlington plane crash" returned info supporting the "it seems they didn't recover from a spin" or any eyewitness account, it would be a simple matter to link the origin of that information.

      That "Spin" story doesn't show up.

  3. Don't see too many DA40 fatal accidents like this. I will be keeping an eye on this investigation.

    1. No we don't ... that's a little scary.

    2. Especially from >3000' AGL.

    3. Don't see too many DA40 aircraft around either.

    4. I own a Diamond DA40. There are a few other DA40 and DA42 owners that visit this site, and one (that I know) owns a DA62. I chose the Diamond Aircraft over Cirrus for safety reasons.

    5. Sounds like the student froze and wouldn't release control to the CFI.

    6. No, the student pilot did not freeze. More misinformation.

    7. "Benjamin did not believe in confrontation" - Dad

  4. DA40’s are notoriously hard to spin. I’ve had many students (inadvertently) try, but the thing always rights itself if you apply opposite rudder. Condolences to the hound instructor and the student. Could’ve been any of us.

  5. You can't stall or spin the Diamond Aircraft.

    1. ?Airport employee put the wrong fuel into airplane?

    2. Sure you can (stall/spin)



    3. Not approved for intentional spinning. See: Diamond DA40, VH-MPM

    4. Right. Not approved, but doesn't mean it won't do it. I read the original comment as saying you can't (literally) stall or spin the Diamond Aircraft. You definitely can.

  6. From the Airplane Flight Manual for the Diamond Aircraft 40 NG:


    Steps 1 to 4 must be carried out immediately andsimultaneously.

    1. POWER lever ........................ IDLE
    2. Ailerons ............................neutral
    3. Rudder............................. full deflection against direction of spin
    4. Elevator (control stick) ................. fully forward

    When Rotation Has Stopped:

    5. Flaps............................... UP
    6. Rudder.............................neutral
    7. Elevator (control stick) ................. pull carefully
    8. Return the airplane from a descending into a normal flight attitude. Do not exceed the 'never exceed speed', VNE = 172 KIAS


    1. "5. Flaps ............UP"
      why or when were FLAPS extended?

    2. It may be referring to a departure stall where flaps may have been used for takeoff.

  7. Replies
    1. It was in the air for almost 25 minutes after takeoff. take a look at the ADS-B data at the above link.

    2. The aircraft was flying for 25 minutes before the accident occurred. Mis-fueling doesn't sound likely, especially considering the eyewitness reports.

    3. What would mid fueling have to do with a spin? And looking at the impact, it was definitely a spin.

    4. Three position fuel tank selector. Its positions are LEFT, RIGHT, and OFF. Perhaps they switched fuel tank during flight and it was to the one that didn't have diesel. Just my personal opinion....

    5. I'm pretty sure the NG doesn't have the left/right fuel selector positions. It should be Normal, Emergency, or Off.

    6. If the fuel selector is in the emergency position, the fuel pumps draw from the right tank in the NG

    7. Excess fuel from the mechanical high-pressure fuel pump is always returned to the left tank. If you don't switch back to the NORMAL position (so the fuel again is drawn out of the left tank), you can empty the right tank and have an engine stoppage ... even though you have fuel in the left tank.

  8. Looks like they were doing maneuvers of some sort, based on the clearing turns.

  9. I was doing stalls in a DA40XL a few years ago with a new student. Normally very docile stall indications and recovery procedures. On this day the student overcontrolled the aircraft and at the point of the stall inserted full aileron deflection. The aircraft whipped rapidly into a spiraling descent. I quickly executed an unusual attitude recovery (many years of flying fighters in the USAF came in handy because there was no time to think it through) as the airspeed was building rapidly. Not saying that my experience is similar to the mishap aircraft, but the point is there may be some hidden dangers flying the DA40. My student didn't fly for 2 months after the incident out of fear.

    1. @mpm - Do you recall the starting and ending AGL altitude of that near miss? The amount of altitude loss during that recovery by an instructor pilot with your background would be helpful to know as a reference.

  10. CAROL returns one prior DA40 crash during maneuvering that included stall practice. The N419FP crash in Utah from 3000' AGL in 2016 was in gusty conditions, no instructor on board.

    For comparison, June 6 2021 ASOS archive recordings for wind at the KIND origin airport does not show gusty conditions during the N853L accident:

    KIND 061405Z AUTO 23008KT 10SM BKN055 BKN075 23/18 A3005
    KIND 061410Z AUTO 22008KT 10SM BKN055 BKN075 23/19 A3005
    KIND 061415Z AUTO 22005KT 10SM BKN055 BKN075 24/19 A3005
    KIND 061420Z AUTO 21007KT 10SM BKN055 BKN075 24/19 A3005

    N419FP report:

    1. Actually there is another in Australia in 2017 that killed the student and instructor. They were above 4,000 ft. practicing incipient spins. The DA40 entered a fully developed spin somehow, the student and instructor could not recover and went almost straight down. ATSB has issued a warning against using the DA40 for incipient spin training and spin avoidance training.

      It appears that the DA40 recovers nicely from the very early stages of spin (incipient) but once developed is a real killer. That is why it is not certified for spins (unlike the lowly but reliable Cessna 150, 152, 172, and 177)

      All planes are compromises. Someone said they picked the Diamond over a Cirrus because of the initial spin characteristic. The Cirrus has the extra layer of safety - the chute. Yes more cost and more weight but these instructors and students would likely be alive if in a Cirrus.



    2. I feel like choosing a plane for the spin characteristics is like choosing one for how it flies when you run the tanks dry. Not really an excuse for getting yourself into that position in the first place.

    3. Problem is when a school picks these for initial flight training. The stall/spin characteristics would be a very important factor.

  11. I instructed in a DA40NG for three years, accumulating 540 hours in type as a CFII. We used the airplane, one of four, as our primary trainer. I found it to be a docile, very predictable airplane. Special caution needed to be exercised at off airport FBOs to insure JetA was used instead of 100ll.
    Before my civilian flying, I spent 18 years in the military as an instructor pilot as well as deployed in the traditional combat pilot role.. I’ve encountered many a situation with students, in all phases of flight.
    On one particular flight in the DA40, we were at 4500 agl practicing power on, power off stalls. The terrain below us in the practice area was flat, mostly rice fields. The flight was in the morning, winds calm and temperatures in the low 60s. Our gross weight was about 200 pounds below max, all tanks full. During the second stall entry, my student unexpectantly imputed full left aileron, and rudder INTO the spin. He suffered full panic, full muscle lock. After entry into a full spin, I yelled “my airplane” and slapped his arm. He would not release. My only option after trying to overcome his control input was to hit him, a hard knuckle hit to the face got him to release his hold and another shout to release got him off the rudder. By this time we were in a tight spiral nose almost vertical. Recovery was fairly quick as the DA40 has excellent rudder authority, airspeed was well below vne. The pull out and level flight was established at 450 feet agl.
    My point is, there are human variables associated with panic that at least in my case, can certainly lead to a fatal conclusion. No amount of investigation would uncover this since its not mechanical, nor is it something the medical examiner would find.
    In the Navy, we had stress tests the pilots would go through, in simulators to establish their ability to handle situations without panic or confusion. Yet, I had front seaters panic and start a series of mistakes that without correction would have resulted in an ejection or crash.
    Panic and muscle lock is a phenomenon rarely discussed and in crashes, virtually never disclosed.

    1. And if you have a female instructor with a presumably stronger, but panicking male student, you have a recipe for disaster. Not saying that this is the case here.

    2. Wow, great reply. I could definitely see a scenario where a seasoned CFI might panic at the fact his or her student is locking up on the controls from panic and not think to hit their student in order to get them to release control. I am about to do my CFI check ride in a DA40 and will always keep this in the back of my mind.

    3. Back in the 50s/60s here in Australia, popular trainer was the old Chipmonk. Fore and aft seating. Rear joystick wasn't secured so instructor could pull it out and hit frozen student.

    4. Had this happen with a similar scenario out west -- small female CFI, burly student froze, two fatalities.

  12. EVERY pilot needs Stall/Spin recovery in their log book... I got mine at hour 10 or so,.. and I rolled a 152 over just after I did my last lesson and recovering was a snap........ no panic just positive procedures and I flew away to fly another day.... and I make it a point to do that every year for the last 40 years ... it makes a difference in the long run.

  13. The FAA decided years ago that we were losing more pilots in spin training than we would in actual spins. When I began lessons, once you were at the 25 to 30 hour mark, an instructor would take you out and "demonstrate a spin". How you could get into it and how to get out. The student didn't touch the controls. We seem to be having an increasing number of stall spin accidents. Maybe it's time to rethink that years ago (1950s or 60s) decision.

    1. Your point would be valid if this wasn't an actual instructional flight teaching stall/spins.

    2. This may have been stall training that inadvertently entered a stall spin! Not stall/spin training.

  14. I have flown DA40 before , very docile aircraft, fast and responsive. I have done stalls and slow flight on the airplane with no problems. Been said that I have to agree with a previous blogger, that with no mechanical, structural or weather conditions issues , this looked like a panic muscle lock scenario. Fly safe everyone and God bless.

  15. Student pilot freak out and pulled back on the stick and wouldn't let go is my guess.

    1. "Benjamin did not believe in confrontation" - Dad

    2. Student pilot avoided confrontation, this is according to his father. I would like to learn more about Benjamin's dimensions of personality. Would he avoid confrontation simply felt a fight isn't worth the energy? Then I don't think he would not release control of the DA40. I'll bet he was passive, no backbone to go against or fight a CFI's instruction.

    3. Panic response does not include normal thought processes such as weighing the choices and considering the outcomes before acting. A person's panic reaction operates from "fight or flight" origins and can't be predicted as an extension of personality.

      Keep in mind that the instructor takeover sequence begins after the aircraft reaches a situation where intervention is required. The instructor has a bigger challenge to recover than the student did at the beginning of the upset as speed increases and altitude is lost.

      Sometimes you crash. No muscle lock or fight for control should be presumed unless the person has a demonstrated history of "white knuckle" response on the controls in adverse situations.

  16. Obviously, a rookie instructor. She received her instructor rating 03/30/2021.
    It appears she let the student take her to a point of no return. Sad

    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: First Medical Date: 11/2020
    BasicMed Course Date: None BasicMed CMEC Date: None


    Certificates Description
    Certificate: FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
    Date of Issue: 3/30/2021



  17. ADS-B
    Speed: 83 kt
    Altitude: ▲ 3,900 ft
    Vert. Rate: 256 ft/min
    Track: 276.3°
    Pos.: 40.111°, -86.748°


    Speed: 75 kt
    Altitude: ▼ 3,825 ft
    Vert. Rate: -704 ft/min
    Track: 278.5°
    Pos.: 40.112°, -86.753°


    Speed: 63 kt
    Altitude: ▼ 3,725 ft
    Vert. Rate: -1600 ft/min
    Track: 353.7°
    Pos.: 40.113°, -86.757°

  18. Flight instructor certificates are issued every two years, and issued whenever a rating is added. Pilot certificate issue dates also reflect the last issuance, and not the original issuance date. So for example, an 82 year old instructor who has held a valid instructor certificate for decades, will at most have a certificate that shows in the public database as having been instructing for two years.

    This was not necessarily a rookie instructor.

  19. I started flying ( gliders with Air Training Corps ) When I came to my P2 (checkride informed after we landed and had a debrief)qfi started a beatup and I let him. Why he asked I replied " Because you are a CFI have a darned site more hours than me and I assume wish to live. I was informed "wrong answer" If you are flying as P1 it does not matter who is in second seat. Remember always you will never break a locked up grip the only chance you may have is to give that person a hard chop to the throat as that is probably the only thing you can do. this will cause a release quicker than a fist to the face as you can not get much force behind the blow, or a shout. The lesson stuck with me he never did another beatup on a check ride with me after that flight. People very hard luck whatever the final outcome and may you Both Rest In Peace.

  20. Wow, she was very new at flight instruction. In reading some of these DA-40 comments, it's clear that this aircraft is easy to get into a stall-spin maneuver but with a hard-over aileron or flight panic, extremely difficult to get out of a spin condition. She just didn't quite yet have the chops to muscle the aircraft out of a tight spin condition at that altitude. In the future, could they install a panic-button, that will right the air vessel automatically based on the prevailing conditions using a computer? Seems like an easy thing to start using, to avoid all of these CFI white-knuckle situations.

  21. I am a 125 lb female CFI, I once had a student apply full Left Aileron/Right Rudder after a dirty stall in a 172, we got into a spin and I called "My Airplane" 3 times, unable to fight him on the controls. A sharp karate chop to the throat got him to release them right quick (it causes you to unconsciously clutch your throat).

  22. I have owned my DA40 Lycoming 180 for 16 years. Spin characteristics are gentle and easy to get out of per the videos that show its initial spin testing. Almost impossible to stall it - have to try really hard. The DA40 NG crash plane has different wing tips and weight and I believe a higher stall speed. When the NG wingtips came out legacy owners were interested in them for our older DA40s and they could not certify them because it had a negative impact on spin recovery. DA40 NG has 60 knot stall speed in the landing config at Max Gross Weight while my regular DA40 has a 49 stall speed in the landing config at Max Gross Weight. So maybe wingtip impact on spin recovery plus higher stall speed made the difference?