Private Pilot Allegedly Dies by Suicide in an Airplane

The pilot is believed to have intentionally crashed the aircraft in a remote part of Texas.

A 2023 Skyhawk like this one was lost in a fatal accident on January 24 in Texas. [Courtesy: ATP]

Authorities in East Texas are investigating what appears to be suicide by airplane the night of January 24.

A release from the Texas Department of Public Safety states the airplane—a 2023 Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP (N23107)—was stolen from ATP Flight School at Addison Airport (KADS), located just north of downtown Dallas, by Logan Timothy James, 23, from Stokesdale, North Carolina. James was alone in the airplane.

The FAA pilot database shows James was issued a first-class medical certificate in May and held a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating issued in December.

According to Aviation Safety Network, the airplane took off from KADS around 7.p.m. CST.  The aircraft's ADS-B track shows that it then headed east, turned north over Sulphur Springs, Texas, then turned again heading northwest toward Paris, Texas. The aircraft then entered a steep dive, with the ADS-B showing a descent of 4,736 fpm. It impacted the ground in an open field 9 miles northeast of Telephone, Texas, around 8 p.m.

The recording of James’ last conversation with Addison tower has gone viral.

"Addison Tower, Career Track 655 is actually going to depart to the east—uh, I’m climbing up through the clouds and then just gonna head out outside of everything. And about right now you’ll probably realize that I’m not gonna listen to y’alls instructions, and I’m heading to East Texas, and I’m Career Track, so, uh, I’m gonna pull the Comm 1 circuit breaker and Comm 2 circuit breaker right as soon as I un-key the mic."

The tower controller calls Career Track 655, asking "Say again?" But there was no reply.

Authorities stated James left a suicide note at a residence in Dallas.

FLYING reached out to ATP Flight School in Addison but did not receive a reply. Additionally, the webpage for ATP Addison has been removed, and notes the aircraft is not available for public tracking per request from the owner/operator ATP Aircraft LLC.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating.

FLYING offers the following resource for those who seek support from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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