The airline transport pilot was repositioning the Cirrus SR22 to its home base after maintenance was completed at a repair station.
He filed an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan with a cruise altitude of 9,000′ mean sea level (msl).
The en route portion of the flight to the destination was uneventful.
Before descending to approach altitude, he contacted approach control and reported that he had received weather information for the airport in Xenia, Ohio. He then requested and was given clearance to fly the area navigation (RNAV) approach to Runway 7.
Approach control cleared the pilot to descend to 3,000′ msl and issued pilot reports for icing.
The pilot flew the RNAV approach to Runway 7, tracking inbound to the airport on the published approach course. About 5.8 miles from the airport, he cancelled his IFR clearance and continued inbound under visual flight rules. His recorded altitude at the time of IFR cancellation was 2,700′ msl.
Reported weather at the airport at the time of the accident included a ceiling of 1,700′ above ground level (2,649′ msl) and wind from 240° at 9 kts, gusting to 14 kts, and variable from 240 to 330°.
One witness at the airport saw the airplane enter a downwind leg to land into the wind on Runway 25. As the plane began its turn from the base leg to final, several other witnesses saw it nose down and descend to impact in wooded terrain about 300′ short of the runway threshold. The pilot died in the crash.
A post-accident weather study showed high icing potential within the cloud layers above the surface and a likelihood of moderate or greater icing along the airplane’s route of flight until it descended below the cloud ceiling.
Because the surface temperature was below freezing, any structural ice that built up on the airplane while it descended through the clouds would not have melted after the airplane descended below the cloud ceiling.
Data recovered from the airplane’s Remote Data Module showed that the anti-ice tank switch was turned on about 7 minutes, 30 seconds before the accident and remained on for 1 minute, 50 seconds. The switch was then turned off and remained off for the remainder of the flight.
The airplane’s flaps were extended to the “HALF” position about 2 minutes, 50 seconds before the accident.
Just before the data ended, the airplane’s pitch and bank increased, and the stall warning activated. In the last three seconds of data, the airplane’s bank angle was 48° to 50°, and the indicated airspeed was between 87 and 90 kts.
The Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the airplane showed that at 60° of bank with half flaps, the airplane’s stall speed was 95 kts. It is possible that, during the approach, ice accumulated on the airplane, which may have increased the airplane’s stall speed.
However, regardless of whether structural ice was present, during the turn to final, the pilot allowed the airspeed to decrease below the airplane’s published stall speed. As a result, the wing’s critical angle-of-attack was exceeded, and the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall and departed controlled flight.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed while turning from the base leg to final, which resulted in the wing’s critical angle-of-attack being exceeded and a subsequent aerodynamic stall.
NTSB Identification: CEN16FA095
This January 2016 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.