Accident Cirrus SR20 N610DA, Wednesday 22 July 2015
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Date:Wednesday 22 July 2015
Type:Silhouette image of generic SR20 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cirrus SR20
Registration: N610DA
MSN: 1847
Year of manufacture:2007
Total airframe hrs:7124 hours
Engine model:Continental IO-360-ES
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Near Lake Wales Municipal Airport (X07), Lake Wales, FL -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Sanford, FL (SFB)
Destination airport:Fort Myers, FL (FMY)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The flight instructor reported that, during an instructional flight and while demonstrating how to change the route in the GPS, he noticed a "puff" of black smoke appear from under the legs of the pilot receiving instruction. The smoke dissipated quickly, and seconds later, the oil pressure light illuminated, accompanied by an aural warning. The flight instructor took control of the airplane and declared an emergency before diverting to a nearby airport. The flight instructor stated that, while on short final approach for landing, he thought "he was too high and going too fast to make the runway." He could not slow the airplane sufficiently for a safe landing and decided to conduct a go-around; however, when he advanced the throttle, the engine did not respond. When the airplane was about 400 ft above ground level, he instructed the pilot receiving instruction to activate the airframe parachute; however, the parachute did not arrest the descent before the airplane crashed in wooded terrain. The flight instructor was seriously injured, and the pilot receiving instruction was fatally injured.

Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the oil control rings on all the pistons were stuck. The oil ports on the pistons were clogged, and coking was present. The Nos. 1 through 3 connecting rod bearings showed evidence of the beginning stages of oil starvation. Review of the maintenance logbooks Revealed that during the two months preceding the accident, engine oil consumption increased significantly. It is likely that the engine consumed more oil in the month before the accident due to the stuck oil control rings, which caused the engine case to pressurize and vent oil overboard via the breather tube, consistent with the large amount of oil residue noted on the underside of the fuselage during the wreckage examination. The vented oil also likely resulted in the "puff" of smoke that the instructor saw during the flight. Data downloaded from the airplane's multifunction displays revealed that the oil pressure decreased significantly but that engine power was still available before the accident, indicating that, although the flight instructor stated that the engine did not respond to his throttle input, the engine was operating and producing some power at the time of the accident.

Although the manufacturer did not specify a minimum or maximum altitude for deployment of the airframe parachute, manufacturer-published information indicated that the demonstrated altitude loss from a straight-and-level deployment was 400 ft. The actual altitude loss during any deployment depended upon the airplane's attitude, altitude, speed, and other environmental factors. The Pilot's Operating Handbook stated that airframe parachute deployment at high speed, low altitude, or in high wind conditions could result in severe injury or death to the aircraft occupants.
Probable Cause: A partial loss of engine power due to oil starvation. Contributing was the flight instructor's failure to maintain control of the airplane during an aborted emergency landing, and his delayed decision to deploy the airplane's parachute system.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ERA15FA277
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


FAA register:


Revision history:

22-Jul-2015 16:31 Geno Added
23-Jul-2015 04:56 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
23-Jul-2015 05:58 harro Updated [Registration]
23-Jul-2015 13:55 Anon. Updated [Registration, Operator]
23-Jul-2015 16:11 Geno Updated [Cn, Source]
27-Jul-2015 23:56 Geno Updated [Total fatalities, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:30 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
19-Aug-2017 14:55 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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