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N224SB accident description

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Tail numberN224SB
Accident dateJanuary 29, 2009
Aircraft typeCirrus Design Corp SR22
LocationMoncks Corner, SC
Near 33.191389 N, -80.029167 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On January 29, 2009, about 1450 eastern standard time, a Cirrus Design Corporation SR22, N224SB, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while on final approach to Berkley County Airport (MKS), Monks Corner, South Carolina. The certificated commercial pilot/owner was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Charleston International Airport (CHS), Charleston, South Carolina about 1440 and was destined for Lake Norman Airpark (14A), Mooresville, North Carolina. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The airplane's multifunction display (MFD) was recovered from the wreckage and downloaded in the Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory. Data from the MFD, along with preliminary Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar and voice communication data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), showed that the accident airplane departed CHS about 1440, and shortly thereafter began tracking in a northwesterly climb, toward 14A. About 1446, the pilot advised ATC, "I have some fumes in the cockpit, I'm turning around." The pilot then advised the controller that he was going to divert to MKS, and was subsequently was issued a frequency change. No further communications were received from the pilot.

About that time, the airplane leveled about 5,800 feet above mean sea level (msl), turned northeasterly toward MKS, and then began a descent. The airplane continued on that track, passing north of MKS, and about 1448 the MFD data ceased recording. About 1449 the airplane reversed course and began heading toward runway 23 at MKS. The airplane's last recorded radar position was observed at 1949:18, at 700 feet msl, about 2 nautical miles northeast of the runway 23 threshold.

Several witnesses observed the accident airplane as it was on final approach to runway 23. Three of the witness were certificated pilots, and during separate interviews recounted a similar series of events. The witnesses stated that when they initially observed the airplane's approach, it looked "normal". None of the witnesses observed any flames or smoke emanating from the airplane. The airplane cleared the trees and fence prior to the approach end of the runway, but then "pitched [nose] over and went down." They further described that the airplane's attitude was consistent with one normally approaching to land, but the airplane then unexpectedly pitched down into a near 45-degree dive and impacted terrain. One of the witnesses responded immediately to the accident site and noted no fire, smoke, or abnormal fumes.

The initial impact point was an imprint on the ground consistent with the size and shape of the airplane's wings and three landing gear, and was located about 875 feet from the threshold of runway 23. The airplane's nose landing gear was found at the center of the imprint. The wreckage path continued on a magnetic heading about 210 degrees, with various pieces of composite structure strewn along it. The next major component found along the path was the propeller, which was located about 35 feet from the initial impact point. The main portion of the wreckage came to rest about 120 feet beyond the initial impact point, and was oriented on a magnetic heading about 138 degrees.

The fuselage was destroyed forward of the forward seats; however, the aft portion of the fuselage remained largely intact. No evidence of an in-flight or post-impact fire was observed. The integrated airframe parachute system was intact, and had not been deployed. The right wing was separated from the fuselage at the aft portion of the wing root, while the left wing remained attached. Control continuity was traced from all flight control surfaces to the central portion of the cabin. Measurement of the flap actuator correlated to a 50-percent flap position.

Both of the battery master switches, as well as their corresponding alternator switches, were found in the "on" position. The avionics switch, which was located immediately to the right of the alternator 2 switch, was in the "off" position. The ice protection, pitot heat, and exterior light switches were all in the "off" position. The fuel selector was positioned to the right fuel tank, and the electric fuel boost pump switch was in the neutral position. The magneto switch was in the "both" position, with the key broken off in the switch tumbler. All of the circuit breakers were in their operative positions, with the exception of the "fuel pump," "turn cord. #2," and the "attitude #2," which were extended and had their crowns broken off.

The propeller had separated from the engine aft of the propeller flange, which remained attached to the propeller. All three blades exhibited chordwise scratching, polishing on the forward and aft surfaces, and bending. One blade exhibited leading edge gouging and was missing a portion of the leading edge tip.

The engine remained largely intact, with the exception of both alternators, which had separated from their respective mounts. The engine crankshaft was rotated by hand, and compression was noted on all cylinders. Continuity of the crankshaft was noted from where the propeller flange separated from the crankshaft, to the rear accessory gears. Rotation of the crankshaft also produced spark at each of the magneto terminal leads. The cabin heater shroud was removed from the exhaust, and exhibited no staining or other evidence of leakage.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot possessed 1,100 total hours of flight experience, and his most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on June 5, 2008.

The 1455 reported weather at MKS included clear skies, 10 statute miles visibility, winds from 340 degrees at 3 knots, temperature 12 degrees Celsius (C), dewpoint 7 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of mercury.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.