NTSB Identification: WPR09FA062
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 20, 2008 in Alamo Lake State Park, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2010
Aircraft: DIAMOND DA 20-C1, registration: N4196M
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot enrolled in a professional pilot flight training program and commenced his flying lessons about 3 months before the accident. Pursuant to the flight school's curriculum, the pilot filed a round robin flight plan for a solo instructional cross-country flight principally intended to further his expertise in navigation. Airwork was not supposed to be performed. After takeoff, the pilot did not open his flight plan. Rather than cruising en route at the planned 6,500-foot mean sea level (msl) altitude, the pilot climbed to 14,000 feet. As planned, the pilot landed and refueled at the halfway-point airport and then departed for the return flight. En route, the pilot climbed to about 9,400 feet. After flying about 1/2 hour, the pilot reversed course and began performing airwork between 6,700 and 7,300 feet msl. Two witnesses in a boat observed the airplane in a spinning descent. One of the witnesses stated that he observed the airplane complete 8 turns before he lost sight of it behind a hill. The airplane impacted the ground (elevation 1,100 feet msl) in a nose-down attitude without evidence of landing-gear-induced ground scar in the sandy terrain around the crash site. The site was within 300 feet (lateral distance) from where the airplane disappeared from radar, as it was descending about 6,000 feet per minute. The accident pilot's certified flight instructor had provided his student with spin awareness training, including actual spins. This training was repeated on more occasions than listed in the FAA-approved training curriculum. An examination of the airframe and engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The reason that the pilot failed to recover from the spin was not determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to maintain control during the performance of a maneuver and his failure to recover from the subsequent aerodynamic stall and spin.

Full narrative available

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