In quite the chilling event a private pilot flying out of Addison airport in a Cessna 172 near Dallas, Texas appears to have flown the airplane to a remote part of the city near Caddo National Grassland and intentionally crashed, killing himself.
From obtained ATC recordings we hear the pilot informing the tower controller they were not going to listen to their instructions and will be departing their airspace to the East along with disconnecting their radios after their last transmission. Normally because of the busy airspace around the Dallas area they would need to talk to an approach controller, however this pilot did not do that and instead flew blindly in busy airspace around 11,000 feet.
Once in a remote area northwest of Dallas, ADS-B flight tracking indicates the pilot put the airplane into a steep dive exceeding a decent rate of over 5000 feet per minute until tracking was lost and presumably the plane crashed.
According to a Reddit thread the pilot of N23107 had left a suicide note before taking the plane and flying around the airspace before finally crashing.
The aircraft was a brand new 2023 model Cessna 172 owned by ATP Flight School with registration number N23107. ATP Flight School is quite a large flight training company operating many training centers all over the country. They mostly operate Cessna and Piper aircraft for students studying for the private pilot license all the way up to their commercial certificate.
Pilot Mental Health
While we don't know the contents of the suicide note, it's times like these we still need to talk about and strive to do something about mental health. There are a lot of things that affect us and having support and resources available is key.
Our hearts go out to this pilot and his family during this time. It's very hard to lose a loved one in such a tragic way.
Training to be a commercial pilot, or even just getting your private pilot license, can be an incredibly stressful time. What can compound the stress is the addition of tough instructors, intensive exams, financial pressure, and more. Failing even one part of your exams can set you back weeks and thousands of dollars if not more. The entire flight training process can be a mental burden.
While most commercial airlines have mental health services and resources for pilots, during flight training you have none of that. Mental problems can easily develop early in a pilot career and having these resources during training could have changed the outcome today.
It's heart breaking to see another pilot take their life, it highlights the growing problems that flight training and being a pilot has. It's important that we talk and understand the reasons behind the crash of this aircraft and that changes are made to support pilots and provide adequate resources so this never happens again. The latest reports that we have is that the crash scene took some time to be discovered due to low visibility in the area but a NTSB investigation has been started and investigators are enroute.
We will likely update this story as major updates become available.