While in cruise flight, the private pilot experienced a vibration and noise that seemed to be originating from the Cirrus SR20’s engine.
He reported that the engine RPM became erratic, and the airplane became harder to control due to the unusual vibration.
As he proceeded to the closest airport for a precautionary landing, the engine “seemed to be starting and stopping” or sputtering.
The pilot reported that, before touching down on the 3,252′ runway at the airport in Caldwell, Texas, the engine experienced a total loss of power.
He flared the airplane above the runway and touched down at a higher-than-normal speed. The airplane bounced and settled onto the runway near its midpoint. Despite full braking action, he was unable to stop the airplane, and it overran the runway before hitting a tree and fence.
An examination of the engine found that the exhaust pipe had fractured from the No. 5 cylinder, however, the reason for the separation could not be determined.
The airplane’s multifunction display recorded the airplane’s flight and engine parameters. Data showed a large drop in exhaust gas temperature of the No. 5 cylinder consistent with a failure of the exhaust pipe.
The data revealed that, during the landing, the engine was operating until just before the airplane came to rest when the manifold pressure increased to ambient pressure.
Probable cause: The failure of the No. 5 cylinder’s exhaust pipe for undetermined reasons, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s fast and long landing, which led to a runway overrun.
NTSB Identification: CEN16LA151
This April 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.