Aircraft: Cirrus SR22. Injuries: 5 Fatal. Location: Willard, Mo. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The accident happened when the pilot attempted an ILS approach in night instrument meteorological conditions.
The radar track data indicated that the airplane crossed the final approach course near the initial approach fix, about 11 miles from the runway. The airplane drifted through the localizer about a quarter mile before crossing the localizer again and drifting about a quarter mile to the opposite side of the localizer. The airplane flightpath then paralleled the localizer briefly, then turned left, making about a 90° course change.
About that time, the pilot requested radar vectors to execute a second approach. The airplane entered a second left turn that continued until the final radar data point, which was located about 420 feet from the accident site. During the second left turn, about nine seconds before the final radar data point, the pilot transmitted, “I need some help.”
The airplane descended at an average rate of 6,000 feet per minute during the final 10 seconds of data. No further transmissions were received from the pilot.
The airplane crashed in a lightly wooded pasture about six miles from the destination airport. A witness reported hearing an airplane engine surge to high power about four times, followed by what sounded like a high speed dive. She heard the initial impact followed by an explosion.
The location and condition of the airframe parachute system were consistent with partial deployment at the time of ground impact. Based on the performance information depicted by the radar data, the pilot’s request for assistance, and examination of the airplane at the accident scene, it is most likely the pilot became spatially disoriented in night meteorological conditions and subsequently lost control of the airplane.
Probable cause: The pilot’s loss of airplane control as a result of spatial disorientation experienced in night instrument meteorological conditions.
NTSB Identification: CEN12FA633
This August 2012 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.