DFW08LA001
DFW08LA001

On October 4, 2007 at 1952 central daylight time (CDT) an Indus Industries Thorpedo T-211 single-engine airplane, N211LS, a Special-Light Sport Aircraft (S-LSA), was substantially damage when it crashed in a field during an approach to the Denton Municipal Airport (DTO), near Denton, Texas. The certificated sport pilot sustained serious injuries and his 16-year old passenger sustained minor injuries. The pilot required assistance from local paramedics to be extracted from the cockpit and the passenger was able to egress unassisted. The airplane was registered to Hood Aircraft of Houston, Texas, and was being operated by Aviator Air Center, Inc., of Grand Prairie, Texas. The airplane departed from the Grand Prairie Municipal Airport (GPM) near Grand Prairie, Texas, at approximately 1751 CDT on a local flight that included a landing at the Granbury Municipal Airport (GDJ) at approximately 1851 CDT. The pilot departed GDJ at approximately 1905 intending to return to GPM. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight that was restricted to day-time VFR by both aircraft and pilot certificate limitations.

The wreckage of the aircraft was examined by the FAA inspector at the accident site on October 5, 2007. According to the inspector, the airplane collided with trees and terrain approximately 3,000 feet north of the landing threshold for Runway 17, at DTO. The accident site was described as a densely wooded area with level ground. The airplane came to rest in the upright position, with both wings severely damaged. The impact damage sustained by the nose section of the airplane, and ground scars were consistent with an impact in a nose low attitude while in a shallow left bank.

The engine, engine mounts, and engine cowling separated from the airframe. The engine came to rest inverted, approximately 25-feet beyond the main wreckage. The 2-bladed wooden propeller remained attached to the propeller hub; which remained attached to the engine propeller flange. Both blades were broken-off approximately 10-inches from the hub. The propeller spinner was crushed inwards.

The instrument panel was crushed inwards with the damage to the passenger side being more severe. Damage to the fuselage aft of the baggage compartment was minimal. The fuel system was not compromised. Both main landing gears collapsed and the left main landing gear was found separated from the airframe. The aileron and flaps remained partly attached to their respective wings. Flight control continuity was established at the accident site.

The wreckage was recovered and secured at Air Salvage of Dallas (ASOD) for further examination.

An examination of the wreckage by the NTSB, a technical representative from Indus Industry, plus FAA, and the operator was conducted on October 25, 2008 at ASOD. No anomalies or maintenance discrepancies were found during the wreckage examination. A review of the maintenance records revealed the airplane, serial number 001S, had accumulated a total of 455.40 hours on the Hobbs meter. The airplane was powered by a 120-horsepower Jabiru 3300A engine, serial number 33A760.

In a telephonic interview, the pilot reported that he became disoriented during the flight as he had never flown at night. The pilot added that he intended to take his passenger for a short flight around the Granbury area in celebration of his birthday. The flight arrived in the Granbury area when the pilot noticed that daylight was quickly fading. The pilot added that he immediately elected to initiate the return flight back to the GPM Airport. The pilot further stated that when he arrived over the intersection of Highway 377 and Loop 820, he became disoriented and attempted to follow the highway, but instead of heading eastbound, he proceeded to follow the highway in a northbound direction. He pilot stated that he never saw the skyline for the City of Fort Worth and continued northbound.

The pilot added that he observed a lake, and he thought it was the Joe Pool Lake, which is located just south of the GPM Airport. The pilot radioed GPM tower and reported he was over the spillway entering the downwind. However, the flight was actually entering the traffic pattern for the Denton Airport; 31.1 nautical miles north of his intended destination. The pilot reportedly turned base leg, overflew the final approach, and then executed a right 270-degree turn for another approach. At this point, the pilot became aware he was at a different airport, but had to land somewhere due to darkness. The pilot avoided the runway approach lights, but flew into the trees short of the runway.

At 1953 CDT, an automated weather reporting facility located DTO reported winds from 130 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 27 degrees Celsius, dew point 16 degrees Celsius, skies clear and a barometric pressure of 29.87 inches of Mercury. The end of civil twilight and beginning of night for this date was 1934 CDT.

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