Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Cirrus SR22 GTS G3 Turbo, VH-WYH: Accident occurred November 21, 2012 in Gilgandra, central New South Wales - Australia

Engine failure involving a Cirrus SR22, VH-WYH, 7 km S Gilgandra (ALA), NSW, 21 November 2012 
Investigation number: AO-2012-154
Investigation status: Completed

On 21 November 2012, at about 1055 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, a Cirrus SR22 aircraft, registered VH-WYH, departed Emerald, Queensland for Dubbo, New South Wales, on a private flight conducted under the instrument flight rules. The pilot and one passenger were on board.

At about 1122, the oil pressure annunciator light illuminated, the engine oil pressure indicated 30 pounds per square inch. As the oil pressure continued to slowly drop, the pilot became increasingly concerned and, tracked via Gilgandra, New South Wales. At 1401, the engine failed the pilot turned the aircraft towards Gilgandra aerodrome. It became evident that a landing at Gilgandra aerodrome was not achievable and at about 1405, the pilot deployed the ballistic parachute. The aircraft impacted the ground the pilot received minor injuries and the passenger was uninjured.

The pilot reported that the oil pressure indication dropped very gradually giving a false sense of security and that he normally maintained the oil level between 5 and 5 ½ quarts.

The engine was removed and a detailed examination did not identify any external oil leaks or internal defects that were not attributed to a lack of oil.

The pilots operating handbook recommends that the engine should not be operated with less than six quarts of oil. Seven quarts is recommended for extended flights.

The accident highlights the importance of understanding the information contained in the manufacturers publications.

 Prime7 News Central West 
Thanks to Malcolm Monson for this photo from the plane crash near Gilgandra on November 21, 2012

December 27, 2012

When a pilot suffered engine failure above Gilgandra, in central NSW, last month, he activated an unusual safety system.

The system saved his life and that of his passenger.

Businessman John Nixon was flying a single-engine Cirrus SR22-G3, a US-built aircraft equipped with a parachute that shoots out the back in an emergency.

The parachute is not worn by the occupants but is attached to the frame of the aircraft, lowering it to the ground wheels first.

Mr Nixon had flown from Emerald in Queensland on November 21 and was only about 60km short of Dubbo, his destination, when he encountered an oil pressure problem.

Less than a minute later, the plane, owned by a friend, had landed upright in a paddock.

Both occupants walked from the crash-landing, although Mr Nixon suffered a black eye after kneeing himself in the face upon landing.

It was the first time the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) had been deployed in Australia.

Mr Nixon, who has 1950 hours flying experience, said he was reluctant to talk about the emergency landing, because he had to file documents with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and also the aircraft's insurer.

But he said he had been back in the air, flying his own Cirrus SR22, only a few days after the crash-landing at Gilgandra.

"I do a lot of flying for business," he said. "Just got to deal with it and move on."

Mr Nixon's decision to use the parachute was criticized by anonymous commentators in online aviation forums and on news websites.

Some suggested that he had made the wrong choice in deploying the parachute and should have just glided to land in the paddock.

But the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association defended Mr Nixon, saying he would have risked serious injury in landing on uncertain terrain because of the fixed, non-steerable landing gear.

"Instead, John pulled the red handle to deploy the parachute and landed about 30km/h and bounced. And lived," COPA said in a comment that it retweeted last month.

Mr Nixon said the safety system was one reason he bought the Cirrus aircraft and recommended it to friends.

"It is the plane I choose to own," he told The Weekly Times.

A spokesman for Cirrus in Minnesota said this month that Cirrus pilots had deployed CAPS 39 times, saving the lives of 63 people.

Australian Pilot magazine reported in its latest issue that there had been fatal crashes involving Cirrus aircraft, including some in which the parachutes failed to save the aircraft.


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