Saturday, January 7, 2017

Cirrus SR22, N5VK: Accident occurred January 07, 2017 in Meeker, Colorado

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: SALT LAKE CITY

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA073
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 07, 2017 in Meeker, CO
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22, registration: N7VK
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 7, 2017, about 1000 mountain standard time, the pilot of a Cirrus SR22, N7VK, made a forced landing on a snow-covered plateau near Meeker, Colorado, after the engine lost power. The pilot and his passenger were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from Provo (PVU), Utah, about 0815 and was en route to Meadow Lake Airport (FLY), Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The pilot said that while en route, the cylinder head (CHT) and exhaust gas tempertures (EGT) on the multifunction display (MFD) were erratic. Since he had had previous trouble with the sensory input unit (SIU), he reverted to monitoring the analog gauges. Shortly thereafter, the engine backfired and lost power. The pilot elected not to deploy the parachute but instead made a forced landing on a plateau in deep snow.

MEEKER, Colo. (KKTV) 11 News is talking to the Colorado Springs man who, along with his wife, survived a plane crash over the weekend.

Russ Ford and his wife Sheri were flying their Cirrus SR22 plane over the remote Flat Tops Wilderness Area near Meeker, CO, on Saturday when he says the engine cut out.

They were at about 12,000 feet over rough terrain and Russ had to make a quick decision; whether or not to deploy the plane's emergency parachute, which is designed to bring the entire plane safely to the ground.

Russ Ford/Pilot, crash survivor: "I feel that if I pull the parachute at that time our momentum and the wind would have carried us into the cliff. The plateau is flat, but there's about a 700 foot drop on either side and I felt that we would've probably crashed, if I pulled the parachute would have crashed into the side of that cliff and I don't think that would've ended well."

Ford was able to land the plane on that plateau. It skidded for several hundred yards, and stopped just 75 yards short of a 700 foot cliff.

Ford says he believes the roughly six feet of snow helped cushion the crash landing.

Ford and his wife were stranded at the crash for about an hour and a half before a rescue helicopter picked them up. He says they're incredibly thankful to all of the rescuers who helped find and save them.

"that's the biggest thing I just want to thank all the pilots, search and rescue, the sheriffs department, ATC all those people who helped." "It was definitely a miracle."

Miraculously, the only injury in the crash was a bruise to Ford's wife's pinky finger.

The NTSB will be investigating what caused the plane's engine to fail.

Story and video:

A Colorado Springs couple walked away with only minor injuries after crashing their small plane in the wilderness in northwestern Colorado on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

The couple was flying over the Flat Tops Wilderness Area in Garfield County when they sent a distress call and later made a hard landing into rugged terrain. They were airlifted out by helicopter.

Authorities say the site of the crash was at about 11,200 feet, where temperatures fell to minus-18 degrees with up to 4 feet of snow. When help arrived, the pilot and his wife were standing outside of a 2003 Cirrus SR22 aircraft near Devil's Causeway and McGinnis Lake.

The  Cirrus SR22 is owned by Russell Henry Ford, 43, of Colorado Springs. His wife is listed as Sherilyn Ford. Attempts to reach the couple Sunday were unsuccessful.

Just before 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office received a call from the Federal Aviation Administration about a downed plane about 32 miles east of Meeker. Several other agencies responded, including the Civil Air Patrol's National Radar Analysis Team, which nailed down the plane location's within 10 minutes of being notified.

CAP reported that it took less than two hours for the couple to be rescued by helicopter and taken to the Pioneers Medical Center in Meeker. Hospital employees told The Gazette that no one by the names of Russell or Sherilyn Ford were being treated at the facility as of Sunday afternoon.

"It was an awesome team effort by team Colorado and the National Radar Analysis Team with their quick work," Lt. Col. Mark Young, a member of the CAP radar team, said in a report. The team's "Google Earth file showed the radar track and where the airplane went down; it was emailed, so everyone had a copy and could see three-dimensionally the path the aircraft took and what the terrain was like."

Sheriff's offices from Garfield and Rio Blanco coordinated resources and plans during the plane crash mission, while the High-Altitude Air National Guard Training Site in Eagle dispatched a Black Hawk helicopter and the state's Division of Fire Prevention and Control launched a multimission aircraft to help with communications.

Two helicopters from St. Mary's CareFlight and Classic Helicopters were also launched, and Meeker Fire and Emergency Medical Services set up a helicopter landing zone.

Randy Coursolle told KKCO 11 News in Grand Junction that he was flying from Las Vegas to Eagle when he heard about the plane crash.

"I made a very low pass to see if I could see any people," he told the TV station. "I wanted them to know they had been found. And after I made that low pass, I climbed to an altitude I could talk to Air Traffic Control again and gave them the exact position."


KUSA - The couple on board a small plane that crashed on the western slope is lucky to be alive.

That's what members of the rescue team are saying after the plane crash-landed Saturday in Garfield County then came dangerously close to sliding off a cliff.

The mayday calls that came from the Cirrus SR22 sent a clear message the husband and wife on board were still alive.

"The closer we can get, the quicker we can get search and rescue helicopters to the area," Lt. Col John Henderson said with the National Radar Analysis Team.

Within an hour, Henderson got a call from the Air Force on Saturday to activate his team of analysts, who are a part of the Civil Air Patrol.

"Our goal is to cut down on the time from a crash to rescue," Henderson said. 

They did this despite the fact Henderson is based out of Washington State and his team lives in different cities. But they all have access to extensive radar data and coordinated with the Air Force and local authorities to track the airplane down.

"Trying to sort the billions of radar dots and find the one we are looking for," Henderson said. 

Saturday, the plane went down in the Flat Top Wilderness around 30 miles away from Meeker, 300 feet away from the edge of a steep cliff.

But instead of searching a huge swath of land, the specialists used their own radar data, the possible speed of the airplane, its directions and weather information.

"The last radar hit was .7 miles from where they went into the snow," Henderson said. 

They were able to zero in on the crash site in under 30 minutes and give coordinates to local research and rescue teams to get to the couple stranded in negative 18 degree weather.

The pilot has some minor injuries and his wife wasn't hurt, according to authorities.

The Civil Air Patrol is made up of all volunteers, often people who are in the Air Force like Henderson or members of the FAA.

They are involved in almost every missing aircraft search in this country, which means they are on missions as frequently as more than once a week.

Story and video:

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — When a small plane crashed in the wilderness in northwestern Colorado in sub-zero temperatures, rescue teams scrambled to reach the two survivors.

The Cirrus SR22 aircraft sent a distress call and crashed in the Flat Tops Wilderness in Garfield County on Saturday, according to a statement released by the Civil Air Patrol (CAP).  The temperature was reported to be 18 below zero.

The CAP  produced a radar track of the plane’s path and an aerial search team spotted the downed plane and two survivors standing outside the aircraft.

The CAP, the High-Altitude Air National Guard Training Site in Eagle and the Colorado State Division of Fire Prevention and Control launched aircraft for the recovery mission.

Two civilian medevac helicopters were also launched by St. Mary’s Careflight and Classic Helicopters, according to the statement.

The two survivors were rescued and transported to Pioneer Hospital in Meeker less than two hours after the CAP was notified. They were treated for minor injuries.


A husband and wife from Colorado Springs were rescued Saturday afternoon involving after their small plane made a forced landing in the Flat Tops Wilderness several miles north of Glenwood Springs near the Devil’s Causeway/McGinnis Lake area.

The plane, a Cirrus SR22, went down on a bitter cold day in the far northeastern section of Garfield County, west of the town of Toponas on Colorado 131.

The Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that it got a call from the Federal Aviation Administration at 10:24 a.m. saying a plane was down 32 miles east of Meeker — the crash turned out to be about 5 miles farther east.

The two people were in the plane alive and talking with other aircraft in the area, authorities said.

“There was another pilot in the area who spotted them going down, and that’s one reason they were able to get there so quickly to make the rescue,” Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Walt Stowe said.

Coulter Aviation from Meeker responded and was able to find the exact location of the crash. Due to the terrain of the coordinates provided, ground teams were not sent out and St. Mary’s Care flight from Grand Junction and Classic Air Medical, which has a helicopter at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood, were contacted.

The Colorado National Guard Joint Operations Center also contacted was and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was also requested. St. Mary’s Care flight and Classic Air Medical were able to land, extract the couple and take them to Meeker.

Stowe said they were being treated for exposure to the cold. No one else was on board.

Stowe said the location of the forced landing was above 11,000 feet, and the air temperature at the time was minus 18 degrees, not counting wind chill.

The names of the pilot and passenger were not released, and the cause of the forced landing was not yet known.

The plane is registered to Russell H. Ford of Colorado Springs, according to FAA records, based on the tail number of the plane provided by Rio Blanco County authorities.


GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The Garfield County and Rio Blacno County sheriff's offices were investigating a plane crash Saturday afternoon.

Around 10:24 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration contacted the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office, saying a plane crashed 32 miles east of Meeker.

Around 12:15 p.m., the Garfield County Sheriff's was contacted to assist with the crash.

"Initial report had two parties in the plane alive and talking with other aircraft in the area," the Garfield County officials said in a press release.

Authorities identified the occupants as a pilot and his wife, of Colorado Springs.

By 1:50 p.m., officials said a helicopter picked up the people, and no one else was on board.

"The Colorado National Guard Joint Operations Center was also contacted and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was also requested," according to authorities. " St. Mary’s Care flight and Classic Air Medical were able to land and extract the pilot and one other party that was not injured in the crash."

Officials said ground teams were not used because of the area's terrain.

Authorities did not say what caused the plane go down.

The couple was flown to Meeker.


A small airplane crashed Saturday afternoon in Garfield County, about 37 miles east of Meeker, in the Flat

The pilot and his wife, from Colorado Springs, were not injured. The cause of the crash is still being determined.

According to a news release by Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, the department’s communication center received a call from the Federal Aviation Administration that a plane had gone down east of Meeker, in the Devil’s Causeway/McGinnis Lake area.

The plane was a single-engine Cirrus SR22 four-seater aircraft with tail number N5VK. According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the tandem of St. Mary’s and Classic Air were able to land and extract the pilot and one other party and transported them to Meeker shortly before 2 p.m.

Lannie Coulter, of Coulter Aviation, in Meeker, found the downed aircraft so that Classic and St. Mary's could pick them up, said Blaine Tucker, of Mountain Air Spray in Craig, in an email to the Daily Press.

Due to the quick response and combined efforts of several entities a High Mountain Rescue, the survivors from the downed aircraft made the rescue successful in less than four hours from the time the plane initially was forced to land, stated a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.

The plane was spotted going down by a pilot of another aircraft in the area, and the other aircraft was able to communicate with the two people on the ground and identify their location, the release stated.

Rescue efforts were immediately put into motion. It was learned that there were only two people on board. The pilot and the passenger were alive and able to move around the plane. By 1:30 p.m. the rescue helicopter reached the site.

“With an elevation of nearly 11,700 feet and ambient temperatures reported at minus 18 degrees, it was fortunate that everything came together quickly for the rescue,” stated the release.

The couple was transported, via helicopter, to a landing site near Meeker. There they were taken by ambulance to an area hospital. There they will be examined for possible injuries and exposure to the extreme cold.



Anonymous said...

Not pulling the parachute was a smart move on the pilots part. Good judgement = good results!

Anonymous said...

Great outcome. I'm curious to what survival gear they had in that bird. Just image how hard it would have been to find that tiny white plane in the snow in the mountains if their 406Mhz ELT malfunctioned... So you survived the crash - can you survive the wait for the rescue?

Anonymous said...

Good Pilot..

Anonymous said...

Is it just me ..... there seems to be a lot of cirrus accidents. why?