Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cirrus SR22 GTS, 147 Aviation Inc Trustee, N147KA: Accident occurred July 21, 2013 in English Channel, UK

 A London-based German banker was worried about the weather before taking off in a one-engined aircraft that crashed into the English Channel, an air accident report has said.

Small sections of the Cirrus SR22 flown by Sascha Schornstein, 36, recovered from the sea indicated that the aircraft  "experienced a high-energy impact with the surface", said the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report.

The report did not determine the cause of the accident around noon on July 21 last year but said that "pilot incapacitation could not be discounted as a factor".

The AAIB also said the aircraft was being flown in conditions of low cloud or sea fog with little or no discernable horizon.

In addition, Mr Schornstein was qualified to fly only under visual flight rules (VFR) in which a pilot flies only if visibility is good.

The report said that immediately before the crash he was "flying in meteorological conditions that were not suitable for flight under VFR" with the pilot not qualified to fly on instruments.

The report said that before taking off for Le Touquet in France from Blackbushe airport in Hampshire, Mr Schornstein "was concerned about the weather" and flew several circuits of the airfield before departing.

The AAIB said: "The lack of evidence that the pilot used the emergency parachute system and absence of any emergency radio transmission means that pilot incapacitation could not be discounted as a factor."

The report said that, three weeks after the incident, a diver reported aircraft wreckage about nine miles from where the original floating wreckage was found.

Inquiries by the AAIB confirmed this was likely to be from the aircraft but the hazards of recovering it were "excessive for the limited new evidence it might provide".

After the incident, a search failed to find the the missing pilot and was eventually called off, with Hampshire police initially saying it was treating the case as a missing person inquiry.

The pilot's wife, Russian-born Yulia Schornstein, said shortly after the crash that flying had been her husband's passion and he had always been "well prepared" when flying.



Report name:  Cirrus SR22, N147KA
Registration:  N147KA
Type: Cirrus SR22
Location:  English Channel
Date of occurrence:  21 July 2013
Category:  General Aviation - Fixed Wing

The aircraft was flying from Blackbushe to Le Touquet when it disappeared from radar. Small sections of the aircraft recovered later from the sea surface indicated that it experienced a high energy impact with the surface. The aircraft was being flown in conditions of low cloud or sea fog with little or no discernable horizon. The pilot did not have an instrument or IMC rating. The investigation did not determine the cause of the accident.

History of the flight: 
The aircraft was on a private flight from Blackbushe Airport to Le Touquet Airport in France. The pilot arrived at the airport at 0810 hrs and spoke to the controller on duty in the ATC tower. During this conversation, he expressed concern about the weather, specifically the cloudbase. The controller advised him that at Farnborough Airport (4 nm to the southeast) the cloudbase was approximately 1,500 ft. After some discussion, the pilot stated his intention to fly some circuits to assess the weather and, if he decided it was suitable, he would then depart for Le Touquet.

NTSB Identification: CEN13WA427
14 CFR Unknown
Accident occurred Sunday, July 21, 2013 in English Channel, United Kingdom
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N147KA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On July 21, 2013, about 1200 UTC, a Cirrus SR-22, N147KA, (s/n 1944) was found in the English Channel near the last radar contact coordinates. The airplane was destroyed and the pilot is missing, unlikely to have survived.

This investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the British government. Any further information may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigations Branch
Farnborough House
Berkshire Copse Road
Aldershot, Hampshire
GU11 2HH, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 1252 5130300
Facsimile: +444 (0) 1252 376999

This report is for informational purposes only and contains only information released by, or obtained from, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of England.  
Sascha Schornstein

Wreckage of the Cirrus SR22 GTS (N147KA) aircraft that crashed off Dungeness.