Monday, May 09, 2022

Diamond DA42 L360 Twin Star, N988JA: Accident occurred May 09, 2022 in Lehighton, Pennsylvania

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 Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allentown, Pennsylvania
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Ottawa
Diamond Aircraft; London, Ontario, Canada
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Location: Lehighton, Pennsylvania
Accident Number: ERA22LA237
Date and Time: May 9, 2022, 11:45 Local
Registration: N988JA
Aircraft: Diamond DA42
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On May 9, 2022, about 1145 eastern daylight time, a Diamond DA 42, N988JA, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Lehighton, Pennsylvania. The flight instructor, student pilot, and pilot rated passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the flight instructor he was conducting flight training in the twin-engine airplane to the northwest of Allentown, Pennsylvania. At the time, air traffic control required the flight to remain below 5,000 feet mean sea level (msl) for other traffic.

While conducting a simulated engine securing drill, they followed the checklist, and secured the right engine. During the drill, the airplane descended “a few hundred feet.” Using the checklist, they then initiated the restart procedure, which “took some time to complete.” They slowly increased manifold pressure to keep shock cooling to a minimum, and as they slowly advanced the throttle it became apparent that the engine was not producing power and the propeller was only wind-milling. They then performed the checklist again in an attempt to restore engine power without success.

At this point the airplane was descending and abeam ridge tops and the flight instructor elected to perform a forced landing to a field. The touchdown was smooth and under control, but the airplane then slid into a ditch by the side of a road that crossed the field, and the airplane nosed over. After the airplane came to rest, they shut off the fuel and master switch, and egressed.
The wreckage was retained for examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Diamond 
Registration: N988JA
Model/Series: DA42 Undesignated Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
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: ABE,385 ft msl
Observation Time: 11:51 Local
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C /-5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 13 knots / , 80°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Allentown, PA (XLL)
Destination: Allentown, PA (XLL)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A A
ircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.809509,-75.761496 (est)

Aircraft declared an emergency and landed in a field.

Date: 09-MAY-22
Time: 16:15:00Z
Regis#: N988JA
Aircraft Make: DIAMOND
Aircraft Model: DA42
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91


SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pennsylvania — A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing in a field in Schuylkill County.

The crash happened around noon off St. Peters Road in West Penn Township, south of Tamaqua.

Officials said engine failure caused the pilot of this plane to conduct an emergency crash landing in the field.

Riley Zeignfuss of Andreas saw the plane crash from her house.

"I saw it crash right underneath the powerlines and then I heard the boom of the crash, and then I didn't say anything else, and then we went to go check it out."

Three people walked away with minor injuries.

"It was a student pilot, their instructor, and a passenger, but I would have to say it was remarkable how they were able to put this plane down into an area field and put it underneath powerlines, this telephone pole, that's quite a task," said West Penn Township Police Chief James Bonner.

The Air National Guard was first on the scene. Local police, firefighters, and EMTs followed

"They immediately changed course and responded. They were here on scene and had the victims extricated by the time anybody got here."

First responders were on the scene most of the afternoon.

The pilot of an airplane that crashed in a West Penn Township field reported engine problems shortly before landing, according to information from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Three people were on board.

“A twin-engine Diamond DA-42 landed in a field in Lehighton, Pennsylvania, around 12:35 p.m. local time today after the pilot reported engine issues,” according to a preliminary statement from FAA spokesman Steve Kulm.

The pilot tried to make an emergency landing coming in from the west near the intersection of St. Peter’s and Golf roads. The pilot sustained minor injuries in the incident.

The FAA and local authorities are investigating the crash.

Klum noted that the FAA does not identify people involved in aircraft accidents or incidents.

A registration number for the plane, however, lists its owner as Elias Salameh of Bethlehem. The plane was manufactured in 2009.

Luckily an Army medical helicopter flying from Washington, D.C. to Fort Drum, New York was in the immediate area and landed to render assistance.

West Penn township police are investigating the incident.


  1. That's the second DA42 recently that couldn't fly on one engine and crashed...

  2. Grass field to the right beats a rough plowed field for landing..

    1. and leave the gear up...

    2. The pictures are taken from the road. The field they touched down on, on the other side of the road was planted with wheat and smooth. They just couldn't get it stopped in time before the road and the ditches on both sides of the road took the NLG out.

  3. So we’re both engines out? Possible Mis-fuel? Looks like it’s the lycoming version, perhaps someone thought they were all diesel.

  4. 1 Accident 3 ppl alive.
    Fly it till all the way till it stops!
    Kudos to the US Army for being there!

  5. Impressed that the rare times I see a Diamond mishap, I never see a fire (even when the fuel tanks get ripped out cartwheeling) and the pax almost always walk away. That 26G crash cage cockpit is impressive. Waiting to see if this was a misfuel… can’t imagine why else they would have engine…s out.

    1. The fuel tanks are located between the fore and aft wings spars which protects them.

  6. 2 engines quiting? Might be a fuel problem. Some use 100LL some JetA. Might be a mix up

  7. I thought aircraft had different sized fueling ports. Bound to happen over and over if there are no design protections...

    1. You are absolutely correct. On modern aircraft, the fuel fill ports are different sizes. The AVGAS fill is smaller than JETA…. Generally you can’t fit a JetA nozzle into an AVGAS fill port but you can easily fit an AVGAS nozzle into a JetA fill port. Interestingly, these are AVGAS engines (per the registry) which leads me to wonder what the heck happened?

  8. Being a prop plane, one would assume it was a gas powered aircraft, it is the diesel powered prop planes one has to be extra careful to moniter fueling.

    1. DA-42 is Lycoming powered, DA-42NG is Austro (older ones Thielert) and run on jet-a (Diesel engines)

  9. The pilot did in fact elect the grassy area but the a/c overran the grass into the plowed area causing the nose gear collapse. Substantiated by the last photo.

  10. good reasons to stick to the diesel-fadec engines
    - you can still Fly and climb on one engine
    - you can restart like a breeze in 5 sec, whatever the temp.
    - you don't end upside down in a field