Low altitude stall fatal for two

This May 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cirrus SR22. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Tuscaloosa, Ala. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: This was the first time the private pilot, who had logged about 815 hours, had landed at the accident airport.

He contacted the air traffic control tower and reported that he was 12 miles from the airport and intended to perform a full-stop landing. A short time later he contacted the tower and stated that he had the airport in sight, but was too close, and needed to make a 360° turn to lose altitude.

According to the controller, the pilot made the turn but was now left of the final approach path. He corrected to the right. The Cirrus was about 50 feet from the end of the runway when the left wing dipped and the airplane rolled over, hitting the ground.

According to the manufacturer, the airplane will stall at an indicated airspeed of about 72 knots in a 45° angle of bank. The airplane’s last recorded bank angle on the primary flight display was in a left bank of 48° degrees and the airspeed was about 63 knots.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering to land, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin and collision with the ground.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: ERA10FA259



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  1. says

    This is tragic, and so unavoidable. This is one maneuver I have always been deathly afraid of.   Many times I’ve found myself too far beyond runway centerline and instead of attempting a severe bank angle at low speed and low altitude I have elected to go around.  Five minutes, ten at the most out of my life….but which is the better choice, the five or ten minutes….or eternity?

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