Sunday, August 25, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Cirrus SR22, N670SR; fatal accident occurred May 31, 2018 at Midland International Air and Space Port Airport (KMAF), Midland County, Texas

John Mark Cooper and Gavyn Mark Cooper

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas
Cirrus Design; Duluth, Minnesota
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Midland, TX
Accident Number: CEN18FA204
Date & Time: 05/31/2018, 1920 CDT
Registration: N670SR
Aircraft: CIRRUS SR22
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


On May 31, 2018, about 1920 central daylight time, a Cirrus Design Corp. SR22, N670SR, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Midland International Air and Space Port Airport (MAF), Midland, Texas. The student pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and was being operated by JMC Ranches, LLC, Midland, Texas, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site at the time of the accident. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident and was destined for Sierra Blanca Regional Airport (SRR), Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Two corporate pilots were standing on the ramp outside the fixed base operator and saw the accident airplane during its initial climb. They said that the airplane climbed to about 200 ft at a slow airspeed then stall. The right wing dropped, and the airplane descended in a right turn until impact with terrain behind the Commemorative Air Force's American Airpower Heritage Museum. A post-impact fire occurred.


The 39-year-old pilot held a student pilot certificate. His most recent third-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman medical certificate was issued on dated April 1, 2013.

According to the pilot's wife, the pilot had a horse training business, and he regularly flew the accident airplane between MAF and SRR, often with passengers.

The pilot's former flight instructor stated that the pilot had taken a 3 to 5 year "hiatus" from flying. He had flown with the pilot in a Cessna 172 from December 2016 to April 2017. When he last flew with the pilot, he estimated the pilot had accrued about 100 total hours of flight experience. The instructor stated that he never flew with the pilot in the accident airplane.


The accident airplane, serial number 2863, was manufactured in 2007. It was powered by a Continental IO-550-N 310-horsepower reciprocating engine, serial number 691467, which drove a Hartzell 3-bladed, composite, constant-speed propeller (model number PHC-33YF-1N, serial number FP6210B.

According to the airplane maintenance records, both the airframe and engine received annual inspections on December 20, 2017, at a total time of 875.1 hours. At that time, the recording tachometer read 847.6 hours.

FAA registration information indicates that the airplane was registered to JMC Ranches, LLC, on January 11, 2018. The pilot owned JMC Ranches, LLC.


The MAF automated weather observation at 1853 included wind from 150° at 9 knots; 10 miles visibility, clear sky, temperature 41°C, dew point 4°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.78 inches of mercury.

The 1952 observation included wind from 160° at 5 knots; temperature 40°C, dew point 4°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.78 inches of mercury.

Given the atmospheric conditions, the density altitude was 6,660 ft above mean sea level (msl) about the time of the accident.


The on-scene examination of the wreckage revealed a 53-ft long ground scar aligned on a magnetic heading of 270°, that led to the main wreckage. All aircraft components were accounted for, and there was no evidence of in-flight airframe, engine, or flight control malfunction or failure.


The Tarrant County Medical Examiner, Fort Worth, Texas, performed an autopsy of the pilot. According to the report, the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Science Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on specimens of the pilot. No carboxyhemoglobin was detected in blood, and no ethanol was detected in vitreous. Tamsulosin was detected in cavity blood and in liver tissue. According to FAA's Forensic Toxicology's WebDrugs, tamsulosin is an alpha blocker used in the symptomatic treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. It is not considered to be impairing.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 39, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/01/2013
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 192 hours (Total, all aircraft), 92 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CIRRUS
Registration: N670SR
Model/Series: SR22
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2863
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/20/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3044 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 875 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: IO-550-N
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMAF, 2872 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 1853 CDT
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: 
Wind Direction: 150°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: 
Altimeter Setting: 29.78 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 41°C / 4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Midland, TX (KMAF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination: Ruidoso, NM (KSRR)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1920 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Midland International (KMAF)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 2872 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 16R
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 9501 ft / 159 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 31.000000, -102.000000 (est)


  1. Shaking my head ...
    "In a telephone conversation with the pilot’s wife,she expressed surprised that there was no record of her husband having a pilot’s license. He had a horse training business, JMC Ranches LLC, and he regularly flew the Cirrus SR22 between MAF and SRR, often with passengers."

  2. At least the airplane was in annual

  3. his former instructor estimated experience at 100 hours, but the guy didn't manage to get a private ticket?

    Lots of boring things expected before they'll give you a license and allow you to carry passengers, like calculating altitude density...

    kudos, managed to fly a hotrod for 90+ hours before he killed himself. and his son.

  4. 100 total hours split by an absence of 5 years. He had a lot of other hobbies.

    He made money in the oil consulting. Then he started flying lessons. Then he started a horse racing business.

    Oh, the horses were far away, so he restarted his flying lessons after a 5 year absence. Bought a plane and killed his son.

    Yet somehow his wife of 17 years did not know he did not have a flying license. I don't buy that. You mean to tell me that the husband faked passing his flying check ride and the family went out to celebrate his passing check ride.

  5. A true Darwin Award Winner, as he not only took out himself, but his genetic lineage. Sucks for the kid