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N1223S accident description

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Tail numberN1223S
Accident dateSeptember 10, 2004
Aircraft typeCirrus Design Corp. SR-22
LocationPark Falls, WI
Near 45.955 N, -90.425 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On September 10, 2004, about 1200 central daylight time, a Cirrus Design Corporation model SR-22, N1223S, piloted by a private pilot and a certified flight instructor (CFI), was destroyed when it impacted a river near Park Falls, Wisconsin. The airplane came to rest in the Flambeau River about 1,000 feet from the approach end of runway 18 at the Park Falls Municipal Airport (PKF). The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The pilot was fatally injured and the flight instructor received serious injuries. The airplane departed the Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (SBM), Sheboygan, Wisconsin, at an unconfirmed time. The airplane's final intended destination was the Duluth International Airport (DLH), Duluth, Minnesota.

According to a witness report to local authorities, the airplane was banking to the left and heading east when visual contact was lost as it descended below a tree line.

Another witness reported that he saw the airplane approaching from the north heading in a southwesterly direction when it made a left turn. The witness reported that the airplane appeared to level briefly and then began a second banking maneuver to the left. The witness reported that the second banking maneuver was at a much steeper angle than the previous maneuver. He also reported that the airplane appeared to be descending during this maneuver. He reported that just prior to losing sight of the airplane behind a tree line, he saw the tail of the airplane "kick straight up" in the air.

Several witnesses reported hearing the engine sound increase prior to hearing the sound of the impact.

A report filed by the CFI stated that he had completed a week of flight training with the left seat pilot. He stated that the purpose of the accident flight was to return the CFI to his home in Duluth, Minnesota. He stated that the day of the flight was windy and a decision was made to fly from SBM to DLH with landings at only those airports. He stated that he had no memory of the accident or why the airplane was diverting to PKF.


The left seat occupant held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine-land rating. The certificate was issued on September 4, 2004. He also held a third class medical certificate issued on August 17, 2004. The medical certificate listed a limitation that the pilot wear corrective lenses.

A review of the pilot's logbooks found within the accident airplane showed that he had accumulated 185.1 total hours of flight experience which included 11.9 hours in the accident airplane. All of the recorded flight time subsequent to the pilot receiving his private pilot certificate was in the accident airplane.

The CFI held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a certified flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine and instrument airplane ratings. His second-class medical certificate was issued in August 2004 and listed the limitation that he wear corrective lenses. A report filed by the right seat pilot listed a total of 1,895 total hours of flight experience, with 600 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane.


The airplane was a Cirrus model SR22, serial number 0105, single engine, four seat airplane with fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane was a low wing monoplane with a fiber reinforced composite primary structure. The airplane was fitted with a Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) as standard equipment. The CAPS is a rocket-deployed parachute intended to lower the entire airplane to the ground in the event of an emergency.

A Teledyne Continental Motors model IO-550-N engine, serial number 685853, rated at 310 horsepower powered the airplane.


The recorded weather for the Price County Airport, 15 nautical miles south of the accident site, at 1155 was: Wind 170 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 18 knots; Visibility 10 statute miles; Sky condition clear; Temperature 23 degrees Celsius; Dew Point 15 degrees Celsius; Altimeter setting 30.08 inches of mercury.


The airplane came to rest in the Flambeau River at coordinates 45.9618 degrees north latitude, 90.4222 degrees west longitude. The CAPS system had not been activated. Prior to removal from the water, a representative of the aircraft manufacturer disarmed and removed the CAPS rocket for later disposal. The airplane was facing in a easterly direction in the water. The top of the cabin, the vertical stabilizer, and the horizontal stabilizer were visible at or above the waters surface. The remainder of the airplane was submerged.

The airplane was removed from the river as a unit and placed in a hangar for further examination. The forward fuselage was separated from the aft fuselage at the control panel. The wing was partially separated from the aft portion of the fuselage. The main landing gear remained attached to the wing structure. The nose landing gear, which was integral to the tubular engine mount, was intact. The tail surfaces remained attached to the aft fuselage. The airplane's engine was separated from the firewall with the fuselage hard points remaining attached to the tubular engine mount.

The aircraft flight controls were examined and the ailerons remained attached to the wings with all hinges intact. The rudder and elevator remained attached to the vertical and horizontal stabilizers respectively. All tail surface hinges were intact. The right flap remained attached to the wing with the center hinge intact. The inboard and outboard hinges remained attached to the wing and were separated from the flap. The left flap remained attached to the wing with the outboard and center hinges intact. The inboard hinge remained attached to the wing and was separated from the flap. Examination of the control system confirmed cable continuity from the control surfaces to their respective controls within the cockpit.

No pre-impact deficiencies were found with respect to the airframe or its systems.

The airplane's engine was found to rotate. Compression and suction were verified at all cylinders. The engine was shipped to the manufacturer's facility to attempt a test run in an instrumented engine test cell. The engine run was conducted under the supervision of a National Transportation Safety Board investigator. The engine was examined prior to installation in the engine test stand. This examination revealed rust and corrosion on internal components consistent with submersion in water during the accident sequence. Preservative oil was used to free the engine prior to the engine run. The contact points on the right magneto were also found to be corroded and were replaced. Subsequently, the engine was installed on the test stand with an appropriate test propeller and the operational test performed. During the engine run, the engine achieved 2,880 rpm at 27.5 inches of manifold pressure. No pre-impact deficiencies were detected during the engine run.


An autopsy was performed on the left seat pilot by the Sacred Heart Hospital, Pathology Department, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

A Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report, prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), listed negative results for all tests performed.


During a telephone conversation with the wife of the deceased pilot, she informed the NTSB investigator in charge that her husband was to fly the flight instructor to Duluth, Minnesota, and that they were to practice emergency procedures while en route. The wife was not aware of any specific emergency procedures that were to be practiced.

The FAA, Cirrus Design Corporation, and Teledyne Continental Motors were parties to the investigation.

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