During the en route climb to cruise altitude, the low oil pressure warning light activated. The pilot notified air traffic control, received vectors to the nearest airport, and began a descent as the oil pressure continued to decrease.
About three miles from the airport in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Cirrus SR22’s engine experienced a total loss of power.
The pilot could not see the airport or runway due to a cloud layer below and elected to deploy the airplane parachute system. The airplane descended under canopy to a four-lane road, where a car hit the left wing.
A post-accident examination of the engine revealed a fatigue fracture of the oil cooler cross fitting, which resulted in oil starvation, internal damage to the crankcase, and a subsequent total loss of engine power.
About four months before the accident, the engine manufacturer released a critical service bulletin (CSB) for a known problem pertaining to the oil cooler cross fitting assembly. Although the airplane underwent scheduled maintenance about a month before the accident, the CSB was not completed due to time constraints. Although compliance was not mandatory, it is likely that the accident would have been prevented had the CSB been completed.
Probable cause: The fatigue failure of the oil cooler cross fitting, which resulted in engine oil starvation and a total loss of engine power.
NTSB Identification: CEN16LA026
This November 2015 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.