Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Diamond DA42 Twin Star, N906ER: Accident occurred August 09, 2021 in Hiddenite, Alexander County, North Carolina

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; Charlotte, North Carolina

Heavy Metal Air LLC

Location: Hiddenite, NC 
Accident Number: ERA21LA322
Date & Time: August 9, 2021, 13:35 Local
Registration: N906ER
Aircraft: Diamond DA42 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On August 9, 2021, about 1335 eastern daylight time, a Diamond DA-42-L360 airplane, N906ER, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Hiddenite, North Carolina. The flight instructor and a private pilot were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The flight instructor and private pilot had completed several maneuvers and simulated emergency procedures during the multi-engine instructional flight. Following a simulated single-engine approach and landing to Wilkes County Airport (UKF), North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the instructor attempted to simulate a right-engine failure during takeoff roll; however, the engine lost power. The instructor restarted the right engine and performed a “quick run up” on the runway in which “everything was functioning normally.” The private pilot then continued the takeoff and climb.

Upon reaching 5,000 ft mean sea level (msl), the private pilot performed an emergency descent maneuver while also simulating a left engine fire. As part of the simulated left engine fire, the left engine was shut down with the full reduction of the throttle, propeller, and mixture. During the maneuver after descending about 500-1000 ft, the Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) failed, and the flight instructor directed the private pilot to recover “gradually and easily” at 3,500 ft msl and maintain 90 knots. The AHRS displayed a message that it was aligning/calibrating and to keep the wings level.

The flight instructor subsequently noticed that the airspeed had increased through 100 knots and altitude had decreased to about 3,000 ft, and about this time, the private pilot stated, “I can’t pitch up” and then the sole operating right engine began to sputter. 

The flight instructor took the flight controls, applied full-forward mixture, propeller, and throttle to both engines, and ensured the landing gear and flaps were up; however, he was unable to increase the pitch and stop the descent. The flight instructor noted that the manual elevator trim was near the takeoff position, and he did not adjust the trim throughout the descent.

The flight instructor reported that “it felt as if we were unable to fully pull the control stick back, as if it were restricted preventing full movement.” He added that both engines regained power, however, it felt as if they “were not producing normal operation power.” The airspeed increased to over 100 knots during the descent, so he reduced engine power, and turned toward an open field. The flight instructor further reported that as the airplane descended, “We both were pulling back as hard as we could but could not get the nose to come up.” About 500 ft above ground level, the flight instructor kept his hands on the control stick and the private pilot lowered the landing gear and added full flaps for landing. Subsequently, the airplane touched down nose low in a soybean field, impacted a ditch, and skidded to a stop.

Initial examination of the airplane at the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the nose landing gear had collapsed, and the right wing sustained substantial damage. Flight control continuity was established from the flight controls to each control surface, which moved freely and correctly through the full range of motion. The manual elevator trim wheel indicated a slight nose down setting. The autopilot circuit breaker was found pulled and collared. Both wing tanks contained fuel and no oil spray was observed on the engine cowling or fuselage.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Diamond 
Registration: N906ER
Model/Series: DA42 L360 
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: SVH,965 ft msl
Observation Time: 13:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C /19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: North Wilkesboro, NC (UKF)
Destination: Gastonia, NC (KAKH)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 35.944915,-81.079957 

ALEXANDER COUNTY, North Carolina — Authorities are investigating after a small plane crashed in an Alexander County soybean field on Monday.

Firefighters and the Highway Patrol responded to the scene in Hiddenite.

Firefighters said the pilot lost an engine during a training flight that started in Gastonia.

No one was hurt during the crash landing.

This is an ongoing investigation. 

No other details have been released at this point.

A small single-engine aircraft crash-landed in an Eastern Alexander County soybean field Monday afternoon.

The plane went down around 1:30 off Sulphur Springs Road. The pilot and a passenger were able to walk away from the wreckage and relate their harrowing experience.

The four-seat aircraft never lost power according to the pilot but he said the plane would no longer respond when he tried to climb it out of the path downward. He said “I couldn’t get it to respond, I had power but was unable to steer.”

Alexander EMS, Alexander Rescue responded along with Alexander County Emergency Services, the Sheriff’s Office and Taylorsville Police. Hiddenite first responders were also on the scene.

The pilot indicated the aircraft had left Wilkesboro enroute to Hickory

The crash is under investigation.


  1. There's got to be more to this story. It's a twin-engine airplane, and the pilot says the "aircraft never lost power". The pilot said the plane would no longer respond when he tried to climb it out of the path downward. He said “I couldn’t get it to respond, I had power but was unable to steer.” Was he in some sort of downdraft behind Rocky Face Mountain without realizing what kind of air he was flying in?

  2. This is a strange one, my first thought was that it was fueled w/ the wrong fuel, since it is a Diesel engine. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Under the described circumstances, they are fortunate to be ok. Diamond builds a very crash worthy aircraft.

  3. Look at the photo closely - the stickers indicate it’s a Lycoming 360 powered variant. That’s an ex Embry Riddle tail number. I believe they converted their Theilert powered aircraft to Lycoming gas engines. As I remember, the converted aircraft had w&b issues which could easily have contributed to this situation, particularly if they got slow.

    1. The DA 42s have a variable pitch stop which, under certain conditions, restricts the aft motion of the control stick. It sounds like among other things, that system failed or some configuation problem existed.