Saturday, November 3, 2018

Cirrus SR22 G3, registered to a private company and operated by the pilot, N271TS: Fatal accident occurred May 05, 2017 at Clearwater Air Park (KCLW), Pinellas County, Florida

James R. Fink 
November 12, 1972 - May 5, 2017 
Born in Stuttgart, Germany 
Resided in Exeter, Rhode Island 

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota
Continental Motors Inc; Mobile, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N271TS




Location: Clearwater, FL
Accident Number: ERA17FA174
Date & Time: 05/05/2017, 1922 EDT
Registration: N271TS
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 5, 2017, about 1922 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22, N271TS, impacted terrain during a go-around at the Clearwater Airpark (CLW), Clearwater, Florida. The private pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to a private company and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airport at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight that departed Marion County Airport (MAO), Mullins, South Carolina, about 1620.

A review of air traffic control (ATC) communications revealed that the airplane departed from the Groton-New London Airport (GON), Groton, Connecticut, about 1103 and was destined for the Hagerstown Regional Airport - James A. Henson Field (HGR), Hagerstown, Maryland. While en route, the pilot elected to continue to MAO. At MAO, he purchased 61.6 gallons of 100LL fuel. After departing MAO, the pilot received flight following services from Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) until he was handed over to Tampa Approach. When the airplane was about 8 miles north of CLW, about 1915, Tampa Approach terminated radar services, and the pilot proceeded to CLW. There was no further ATC contact with the pilot.

As the accident airplane approached runway 16 at CLW, an airline transport pilot (ATP) was entering the traffic pattern at CLW in his Grumman Tiger airplane after deciding to terminate a local flight due to approaching convective weather. The ATP heard the accident pilot announce over the airport's common traffic advisory frequency that he was west of the airport and inbound for landing. The ATP told the pilot that there was a noise restriction on the west side of the airport and that he would need to enter the traffic pattern from the east. The pilot acknowledged and told the ATP that he would follow him in. The ATP said that weather was approaching the airport, and as he crossed over the approach end of the runway to land, the winds became increasingly strong and gusty. It took a long time to get the airplane on the ground, and he had to use full aileron deflection to maintain control. The ATP said that there was wind shear, but he could not estimate the speed or direction of the shear. He estimated that the wind was from between 240° and 270° at a velocity of about 40 knots.

According to the ATP, while he was on final approach, he saw the accident airplane on the downwind leg and was aware that it was close behind him in the traffic pattern, so he cleared the runway quickly. He then radioed the pilot and told him that the wind was "snotty" at the approach end of the runway and to be careful. The pilot acknowledged. The ATP then taxied to his parking spot and did not see the accident airplane land. The ATP said that after he parked his airplane the wind was blowing so hard that it was a struggle to get the canopy cover on his airplane. It had also started to rain. The ATP was unaware that the accident airplane had crashed until he heard sirens on the airport and responded to the location of the accident.

An airport employee observed the accident airplane on final approach for runway 16. He said it was very windy and gusty, and rainstorms were approaching the airport. The employee said that the airplane appeared to make a normal approach to the airport before it disappeared from his view. The employee then heard the airplane's engine go to full power and saw the airplane in a vertical climb before it rolled left onto its back and descended out of view. The witness said that he knew the airplane was going to crash and started yelling for someone to call 911. He then responded to the accident site and found the airplane in an inverted position adjacent to the taxiway.

Data downloaded from the airplane's Avidyne electronic primary flight display (PFD) revealed that the flight from MAO to CLW was recorded. The data showed the airplane approaching CLW from the northeast, making a 360° left turn over the airport, and entering a left downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 16. The airplane continued to turn onto the base leg and then onto final approach before the data ended about 1922 when the airplane was over the runway. The last 4 to 6 seconds of the flight were not recorded by the PFD. According to the manufacturer, this can occur when there has been an abrupt loss of power. 



Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 44, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:  07/14/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/04/2016
Flight Time:  244.3 hours (Total, all aircraft), 23.6 hours (Total, this make and model)

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. Review of his logbook revealed that as of April 26, 2017, he had a total flight experience of about 244 hours of which 23.6 hours were in the accident airplane. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical was issued on July 14, 2015, with no waivers or limitations.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP
Registration: N271TS
Model/Series: SR22 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2619
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/09/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 50 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1670.6 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-550-N
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 310 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The airplane was a four-seat, low-wing, composite airplane with fixed landing gear. It was powered by a 310-horsepower Continental Motors IO-550-N piston engine.

The airplane's last annual inspection was on June 9, 2016, at an airframe total time of 1,621.1 hours. The engine was also inspected at this time and had a total of 120.1 total hours since overhaul. Since the annual inspections, both the engine and airplane had accrued an additional 49.5 hours.



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CLW, 71 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1935 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3200 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots / 23 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 280°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.79 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Mullins, SC (MAO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Clearwater, FL (CLW)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1620 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

CLW had an automated weather observing system. Recorded weather at 1915 included wind from 280° at 10 knots with gusts to 19 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 4,500 ft above ground level (agl), a broken ceiling at 6,000 ft agl, overcast skies at 8,500 ft agl, temperature 21°C, dew point temperature 11°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.78 inches of mercury.

Recorded weather at 1935 included wind from 280° at 14 knots with gusts to 23 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 3,200 ft agl, a broken ceiling at 4,500 ft agl, an overcast ceiling at 6,000 ft agl, temperature 21°C, dew point 12°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.79 inches of mercury.

Based on the airplane's flight track, at 1920, it was located in an area of 0 to 15 dBZ reflectivity values. Between 1924 and 1928, Reflectivity values of 10 to 30 dBZ moved over the accident site between 1924 and 1928, and the main band of higher reflectivities of 40 dBZ moved over the accident site after 1928. The 0 to 30 dBZ reflectivity values corresponded to light precipitation. There were no lightning strikes around the accident site at the accident time.

An airmen's meteorological information (AIRMET) advisory was valid for the accident site at the accident time. AIRMET Tango was issued at 1645 and advised of moderate turbulence below 12,000 ft. The area forecast issued at 1345 and valid at the time of the accident forecasted a scattered to broken ceiling at 4,000 ft, cloud tops at 8,000 ft, isolated light rain showers, and a west wind with gusts from 25 to 30 knots. The terminal area forecast (TAF) issued for PIE at 1333 and valid at the time of the accident forecasted a wind from 290° at 18 knots with gusts to 28 knots, greater than 6 miles visibility, and scattered clouds at 5,000 ft.

A search of weather briefing sources, such as Lockheed Martin Flight Service, Leidos weather briefings, and Direct User Access Terminal Service indicated that the pilot did not receive an official weather briefing from any of these sources.

The pilot did receive a weather briefing at 1012 through ForeFlight for a flight between GON and HGR; no ForeFlight weather briefing data was requested or received for a flight to CLW. It is unknown if the pilot checked or received additional weather information before or during the accident flight.

A review of the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) Situation Display applicable to the Tampa Bay, Florida, area for the time surrounding the accident indicated that a downburst/microburst/gust front was moving eastward across the CLW and PIE areas around the accident time. ITWS information is not available to controllers in ARTCCs but is available to airports with air traffic control towers. CLW did not have an air traffic control tower. 



Airport Information

Airport: Clearwater Airpark (CLW)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 71 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 16
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4108 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  27.977778, -82.759167 (est) 

The airplane came to rest inverted on a magnetic heading of 073° in a dry retention pond just east of the runway. The initial impact point was a ground scar. Embedded in the scar were pieces of the left wingtip. The main wreckage, which include the empennage, fuselage, wing, and the engine and propeller, was located about 50 ft east of the initial impact point. The left section of the wing was fractured just outboard of the left flap, and the wing tip had separated. There was no postimpact fire, and the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) was not deployed. The roof of the airplane had collided with an elevated storm drain that was made of concrete. A section of the airplane's roof and door were found at the base of the drain. Propeller marks were also observed on the aluminum guard-rail that was attached to the drain. Flight control cable continuity was established from all major flight control surfaces to the cockpit area. The flap actuator indicated the flaps were at 100% (fully extended). The pitch trim motor was found near the neutral pitch trim position, and the roll trim motor was found in about the full left roll trim position. Both front seats were equipped with airbags, and both bags were deployed. The pilot's four-point seat belt/shoulder harness assembly was cut by rescue personnel.

The engine remained partially attached to the airplane, and the three-bladed propeller remained attached to the engine. All three blades were bent aft and exhibited polishing at the tips. The spinner exhibited only minor damage. Examination of the engine revealed that it had sustained some impact damage, but the accessories remained on the engine. The fuel pump was removed, and some fuel was observed in the chamber. The fuel coupling was not broken. The engine crankshaft was manually rotated, and valve train continuity and compression were established on each cylinder. The top spark plugs were grey in color consistent with normal wear per the Champion Check-A-Plug chart. Spark was observed to each ignition lead when the crankshaft was rotated. The fuel manifold valve was removed and disassembled. Some fuel was noted in the manifold chamber, and the screen was absent of debris. Honey-colored oil was observed throughout the engine. The oil pump pumped oil when the crankshaft was rotated. The oil filter was removed and opened. The filament was absent of debris. No mechanical deficiencies were observed with the engine that would have precluded normal operation at the time of impact. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Medical Examiner's Office (District Six), Largo, Florida, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be blunt head trauma.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing that was negative for all items tested.

Additional Information

Advisory Circular

The FAA's Advisory Circular (AC) 00-6B, titled "Aviation Weather," issued in August 2016 is the primary basic training guide on many weather hazards, including downbursts and microbursts. Section 19.6.3 of the AC states that downbursts and microbursts are associated with rain showers and more frequently with thunderstorm activity. Downbursts create many hazards for aviation and often cause damaging wind at the surface. Further information on the hazards of downbursts and microbursts and the safest courses of action for pilots can be found in the FAA's AC 00-24C and the FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual and obtained from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. The FAA and the National Weather Service provide many examples of downburst and microburst conditions associated with rain showers.

Pilot Operating Handbook

The go-around procedure described in the airplane pilot operating handbook included retracting the flaps to 50%, after the application of full power.




NTSB Identification: ERA17FA174
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 05, 2017 in Clearwater, FL
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N271TS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 5, 2017, about 1925 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22, N271TS, impacted terrain while attempting to land at the Clearwater Airpark (CLW), Clearwater, Florida. The private pilot was fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to a private company and operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airport at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Plantation Airpark (JYL), Sylvania, Georgia, about 1711, and was destined for CLW.

A preliminary review of air traffic control (ATC) communications revealed the flight originated about 1103 from the Groton-New London Airport (GON), Groton, Connecticut, and was destined for the Hagerstown Regional Airport - James A. Henson Field (HGR), Hagerstown, Maryland. While en route, the pilot diverted to JYL. After departing JYL, the pilot requested flight following services from ATC. When the airplane was about 8 miles north of CLW, about 1918, radar services were terminated and the pilot proceeded to CLW.

Another pilot was entering the traffic pattern at CLW when he heard the accident pilot announce over the airport's common traffic advisory frequency frequency that he was west of the airport and inbound for landing. The other pilot told the accident pilot that there was a noise restriction on the west side of the airport and that he would need to enter the traffic pattern from the east. The accident pilot acknowledged and told the other pilot that he would follow him in. The other pilot said he could see storms approaching the airport. When he crossed over the approach end of the runway to try and land, the winds became increasingly strong and gusty. The pilot said it took him a long time to get the airplane on the ground and he had to use full aileron deflection to maintain control. He said there was wind shear, but he could not estimate the speed or direction of the shear; however, he estimated the wind was between 240 and 270 degrees at a velocity of about 40 knots.

The pilot said that he saw the accident airplane on downwind, while he was on final approach, and was aware that he was close behind him in the pattern, so he cleared the runway quickly. He then radioed the accident pilot and told him the wind was "snotty" at the approach end of the runway and to be careful. The accident pilot acknowledged. The other pilot then taxied to his parking spot and did not see the accident airplane land. The pilot said that after he parked his airplane the wind was blowing so hard that it was struggle to get the canopy cover on his airplane. It had also started to rain. The pilot was unaware that the accident airplane had crashed until he heard sirens on the airport and responded to the location of the accident.

An airport employee observed the accident airplane on a final approach for runway 16. He said it was very windy and gusty, and storms were approaching the airport. The employee said the airplane appeared to make a normal approach to the airport before it disappeared from his view. The employee then heard the airplane's engine go to full power. He said the airplane entered a vertical climb before it rolled left onto its back. The airplane then descended while traveling toward the east inverted before it disappeared from view. The witness said he knew the airplane was going to crash and started yelling for someone to call 911. He then responded to the accident site and saw fuel draining from the airplane.

The airplane came to rest inverted on a magnetic heading of 073° in a dry retention pond just east of the runway. The initial impact point was a ground scar. Embedded in the scar were pieces of the left wing tip. The main wreckage, which include the empennage, fuselage, the right wing, portions of the left wing, and the engine and propeller, were located about 50 ft east of the initial impact point. The left wing was fractured just outboard of the flap, and the wing tip had separated. There was no post-impact fire and the onboard ballistic recovery system (parachute) was not deployed. The roof of the airplane had collided with an elevated storm drain that was made of concrete. A section of the airplane's roof and door were found at the base of the drain. Propeller marks were also observed on the aluminum guard-rail that was attached to the drain. Flight control continuity was established for all major flight control surfaces to the cockpit area. The flap actuator indicated the flaps were fully extended. The pitch trim motor was found near the neutral trim position and the roll trim motor was found in an approximate full left roll position. Both front seats were equipped with airbags and both bags were deployed. The pilot's four-point seat belt/shoulder harness assembly had been cut by rescue personnel.

The engine remained partially attached to the airplane and the three-bladed propeller remained attached to the engine. All three blades were bent aft and exhibited polishing at the tips. The spinner exhibited only minor damage. Examination of the engine revealed it had sustained some impact damage, but the accessories remained on the engine. The fuel pump was removed and some fuel was observed in the chamber. The fuel coupling was not broken. The engine was manually rotated and valve train continuity and compression were established on each cylinder. The top spark plugs were grey in color consistent with normal wear per the Champion Check-A-Plug chart. Spark was observed to each ignition lead when the engine was rotated. The fuel manifold valve was removed and disassembled. Some fuel was noted in the manifold chamber and the screen was absent of debris. Honey-colored oil was observed throughout the engine. The oil pump was pumping oil when the engine was rotated. The oil filter was removed and opened. The filament was absent of debris. No mechanical deficiencies were observed with the engine that would have precluded normal operation at the time of impact.

The airplane was equipped with an Avidyne electronic primary flight display (PFD) and a multi-function display (MFD). The PFD unit and the solid-state memory card from the MFD were recovered from the wreckage for examination and download.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. Review of his logbook revealed that as of April 26, 2017, he had a total of about 244 flights hours, of which, 23.6 hours were in the accident airplane. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical was issued on July 14, 2015, with no waivers or limitations.

Recorded weather at CLW, at 1935, included wind from 280° at 14 knots with gusts to 23 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 3,200 ft, a broken ceiling at 4,500 ft, an overcast ceiling at 6,000 ft, temperature 21° C, dew point 12° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.79 inHg.

Recorded weather at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), St. Petersburg, Florida, located about 6 miles southeast of CLW, at 1953, included wind from 270° at 16 knots with gusts to 32 knots, 9 miles visibility, light rain, few clouds at 4,700 ft, a broken ceiling at 5,500 ft, an overcast ceiling at 8,000 ft, temperature 21° C, dew point 13 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.80 inHg. A peak wind was recorded from 260° at 32 knots at 1947 and rain began at 1950.

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