This September 2009 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: Rock Hill, S.C. Location: 1 Fatal. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot intended to practice takeoffs and landings in the high performance airplane. At the time of the accident, he had accumulated about 390 hours, all in the Cirrus SR22.
It was noted that all logged flights in the accident airplane, with the exception of a 1.4 hour flight about two months before he accident, included a flight instructor onboard.
The pilot had a history of attention deficit disorder and depression (both previously treated with medications) and of anxiety (for which he had previously been hospitalized and for which he had been prescribed a potentially impairing medication for use “as needed”). None of this information had been reported to the FAA. The pilot was at risk (but had not been evaluated) for obstructive sleep apnea because of his history of snoring, obesity, and high blood pressure. It is possible that he was experiencing symptoms of his unreported mental conditions, that he was fatigued due to undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, or that he had recently used an anti-anxiety medication at the time of the accident. While it is possible that impairment from one or more of those sources could have adversely impacted his performance during the accident, the investigation was unable to determine the role that impairment may have played.
Information retrieved from the airplane’s remote data module, a crash-hardened unit installed in the tail of the airplane intended to record flight, engine and autopilot parameters, indicated that the airplane accelerated and lifted off runway 2 normally. The airplane then made a slight right turn for about 35 seconds, which transitioned to a left turn. Approximately 9 seconds later, the roll attitude reached 46° left wing down, and the airplane reached its maximum altitude of 1,241 feet mean sea level, about 575 feet above ground level. Over the next 20 seconds, the turn continued at about the same roll attitude (40° to 50° left wing down), as the speed increased to 158 knots and the airplane’s pitch attitude began to decrease toward a peak of 10° nose down, and the roll attitude began a sharp change toward the right, reaching about 70° right wing down, by the end of the recorded data. The last recorded data points included a heading of 165°, an engine rpm of 2,687, an indicated airspeed of 184 knots, and a vertical descent rate of 2,064 feet-per-minute. The stall warning parameter indicated “off” or not stalled for the duration of the flight.
The airplane initially hit the ground about 100 feet below the top of a 20° slope, about 150 feet from a taxiway, and 255 feet right of the extended center line of runway 20. The airplane was destroyed by fire and impact forces. Fragments of the right wing tip were located near the initial impact point. A debris path, oriented on a 160° heading, extended for about 400 feet.
The airplane had been operated for approximately 93 hours since new. Examination of the wreckage and recorded data did not reveal evidence of any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control and altitude while maneuvering after takeoff.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: ERA09FA515