Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Lancair Evolution, N515DL: Fatal accident occurred May 28, 2021 in McDermott, Scioto County, Ohio

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; Cincinnati, Ohio
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
Evolution Aircraft Company; Redmond, Oregon
Lancair Owners and Builders Organization; St Louis, Missouri 
Hartzell Propeller Inc.; Piqua, Ohio 

Davlor Aircraft Leasing LLC

Location: McDermott, OH 
Accident Number: CEN21FA238
Date & Time: May 28, 2021, 10:48 Local 
Registration: N515DL
Aircraft: Lancair EVOLUTION
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On May 28, 2021, about 1048 eastern daylight time, a Lancair Evolution airplane, N515DL, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near McDermott, Ohio. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

A review of preliminary air traffic control (ATC) information revealed the airplane departed about 1014 from Bellefontaine Regional Airport (EDJ), Bellefontaine, Ohio on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan, with a destination of Charleston International Airport (CHS), Charleston, South Carolina.

After departure from EDJ, the airplane climbed to flight level (FL) 250 and accelerated to 215 knots groundspeed. During the next 1 minute and 43 seconds, while in level flight on a southeasterly heading, the airplane gradually decelerated to 146 knots groundspeed.

The airplane subsequently made a left turn and a rapid descent. During this timeframe, the pilot’s transmitter became stuck and a distressed conversation between the pilot and passenger was audible. The controller made unsuccessful attempts to contact the pilot and radar contact was lost. A ground witness observed the airplane in a spiral descent and that it “may have been missing a wing.”

The airplane impacted into forested terrain with a vertical nose down attitude and a fire ensued. The airplane was equipped with a parachute recovery system; the ballistic charge for the system expended during the fire. The right wing (outboard 9 ft) was located about ½ mile northeast of the main wreckage.

Examination revealed engine and propeller rotational signatures consistent with the engine producing power during ground impact. No mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation were observed.

An Airman’s Meteorological Information (AIRMET) for icing was valid up to 22,000 ft, and an AIRMET for moderate turbulence was valid from 25,000 ft to 42,000 ft. Both AIRMETs covered EDJ and the accident location.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Lancair
Registration: N515DL
Model/Series: EVOLUTION
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDWU,546 ft msl 
Observation Time: 10:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C /20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 1100 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 210°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 2300 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.83 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Bellefontaine, OH (EDJ)
Destination: Charleston, SC (CHS)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: On-ground
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 38.81828,-83.02776 

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

David Lewis and Lori Denise James

David Lewis James and Lori Denise James, of Bellefontaine, went to be with the Lord together, in Scioto County, on May 28, 2021, their 44th wedding anniversary.

They are survived by their two children, Patrick (Jenna) James and Krista (Neil) Davis, and their seven grandchildren: Patrick Allan, Nate, Noah, Nicolas, Mya, Violet, and Gabriel.  

Dave was the son of Carol James and the late Donald James, and brother of Kevin (Lisa) and Garret James.

Lori was the daughter of John and Wanda Harrod, and sister of Lisa (Burt) Myers, Leslie (Ramon) Walls, Lynda (Steve) Barrington, and John (Linda) Harrod.

Dave and Lori made sure to live life to the fullest by traveling and spending as much time as possible with their kids and grandkids.  Countless memories were made and will be cherished from their family trips, vacations in Florida, and endless laughs and jokes.

Their impacts on people of the community, patients Lori took care of, and their generosity to those in need will always be remembered.

There will be a Celebration of Life held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at Winner Barn, 7317 St. Rt. 47, DeGraff, for all to come and share memories of Dave and Lori.  Dress will be casual to reflect their style.  Food and drink will served throughout.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given in Dave and Lori’s name to Calvary Christian School  1140 Rush Ave.  Bellefontaine, OH 43311

The staff of the Eichholtz Daring & Sanford Funeral Home & Cremation Center in Bellefontaine is honored to serve the James family.

(authored by the family)


  1. Flight tracking data shows last return at 25,000' and down to 73 knots just minutes after reaching that altitude for cruise and accelerating to 222kts before rapidly starting to decelerate...yet still holding the same altitude.

    But witnesses on a golf course saw it happen, and here was one individual's account from a local news channel report:

    Phillips was one of the first to call 911. He thought he heard someone using loud cleaning equipment, but then attributed that noise to engine failure as he looked up to see a plane spinning out of control. “It was spinning a little bit and then it started going end over end, and then it was just going straight down," Phillips said. "I mean, the front of the plane was going over the back of the plane just doing like a front flip."

  2. Also David posted a pic of his aircraft on Flightaware some 3 years ago:

    RIP and wife too. Hope investigators find out what happened here with such a pocket rocket like the turbine Lancair Evolution.

  3. I thought this was a very interesting article

  4. Prayers for their family and friendsSaturday, June 5, 2021 at 7:10:00 AM EDT

    My thoughts and prayers to their children. To Kevin, Lisa and their children. To the rest of the family also. I worked for Don and Carol James for many years at the homecoming. I’ll always remember Carol's beautiful smile. This family are wonderful people! So sorry for your loss.

    1. what's the "Homecoming"

    2. It's a local restaurant in Bellefontaine. Where they were from.

  5. End over end? That takes unusual attitude to all new highs.

  6. " The airplane was equipped with a parachute recovery system; the ballistic charge for the system expended during the fire. "