Crosswind compromises Cirrus

Aircraft: Cirrus SR22. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: South Bend, Ind. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to land in winds from 300° at 15 knots with gusts to 24 knots. A witness on the ground stated that the airplane was being “bounced around” by the wind gusts and that it “stalled and rolled to the left.” The airplane was in a 15° to 30° left bank and a nose-down attitude before it crashed.

No pre-impact airframe or engine anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane were found during the investigation.

The airplane’s Recoverable Data Module (RDM) did not record data during the accident flight. About eight months before the accident, the airplane’s annual inspection was completed, and two days later the airplane’s recoverable data module (RDM) stopped recording data due to a failed transient voltage suppressor (TVS). The airplane underwent a 100-hour inspection about midway through the eight month period, and the failed RDM was not detected at that time. The system does not provide a failure indication to the pilot, and there is no requirement during the 100-hour inspection to check the RDM.

A likely cause of the TVS failure could have been electrical over-stress as the airplane was tied down overnight, and lightning was present when the RDM stopped recording. A similar airplane sustained substantial lightning strike damage while tied down and at least two other airplanes sustained lightning strikes at that time.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain control while on final approach with a gusting crosswind and the subsequent aerodynamic stall and spin during the attempted go-around.

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA267

This April 2011 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.


  1. Jeff says

    It amazes me how many pilots I see landing on a really windy day with full flaps. Full flaps lower your stall speed but also lower you control and crosswind limits. If the runway isn’t short and South Bend isn’t then why use flaps when your trying to penatrate gusty conditions. I’m not saying this guy was using full flaps but anymore they train everyone to land with flaps. I learned to fly in airplanes that didn’t have flaps and you slipped them down but flaps are used to control the glide slope and most useful on short fields, not in gusty winds.

    • Fritz Katz says

      Assume you meant a 150 COULD handle it and tend to agree. They handle far worse daily with lower time pilots. How have those tin cans survived 60 years without an RDM? Why is that being inop even discussed?

      Because compared to say, Meridian or even T210 owners, Cirrus buyers are too often untalented yuppies who want to program rather than handfly their airplane, think cash for gizmos equals safety, and buy the marketing hype instead of reading NTSB reports. This “26G” crashworthiness boast is obvious bullshit right off the top from this low altitude low speed crunch killing the unfortunate sucker. Metal wings crumple and absorb/dissipate impact forces as they do. Seems composites either transmit them 100% or fail abruptly and completely.

      Runway 27, wind 300@15 gust 24. BFD

      Would like to know the relative surface area of a 150 (or 210 or Meridian) aileron vs Cirrus… which one provides best roll control at low speed? Maybe academic since the spring-loaded Cirrus side stick fights rather than assists the pilot in feeling and responding correctly to gusts.

      Even with “transition training”, some Cirrus owners are doomed the minute the check clears…some are smart enough to sacrifice-sell them after the first coupla scares.

      I’ve flown near a hundred makes and models. Single, twin, warbird, aerobatic, conventional gear… won’t get into a Cirrus.

  2. Fritz Katz says

    Another Cirrus owner with more dollars than sense suckered to his death by irresponsible marketing.

    Airplane is inherently dangerous even on calm days. Check the stats…read the narratives.

    Design is just “wound up too tight” to maximize speed “uber alles”……that was given priority over stability and the safety inherent in that.

    200 hour pilot? Should require an ATP.

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