Saturday, August 10, 2019

Visual Flight Rules encounter with Instrument Meteorological Conditions: Cirrus SR22, N6083D; fatal accident occurred October 01, 2017 in Klamath Falls, Oregon

An undated photo shows Chantal and Juan Canopii standing in front of the Cirrus SR22, N6083D. The couple died October 1st, 2017 when the plane they were traveling in crashed in western Klamath County

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Klamath Falls, OR
Accident Number: WPR18FA001
Date & Time: 10/01/2017, 1043 PDT
Registration: N6083D
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: VFR encounter with IMC
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 1, 2017, about 1043 Pacific daylight time, a Cirrus Design Corp SR22, N6083D, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering at low altitude in a remote mountainous area near Klamath Falls, Oregon. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Cascade Forestry Inc., Gold Hill, Oregon, and was being operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions were reported in the area at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight, which departed Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport (LMT), Klamath Falls, Oregon, about 1030, and was destined for Rouge Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR), Medford, Oregon.

An acquaintance of the accident pilot reported that he had spoken with the pilot at LMT on the morning of the accident. The acquaintance, a retired US Air Force pilot, stated that the accident pilot said that he was on his way back to MFR and that his plan was to depart under visual flight rules (VFR) then climb above the clouds and find a "hole" around MFR for a VFR descent. The pilot also stated that if he couldn't find a way to let down through the clouds, then he would return to LMT. The accident pilot stated that there was an overcast cloud layer fairly high over MFR, but underneath the clouds were VFR. The acquaintance stated that the accident pilot never mentioned trying to go below the clouds en route to MFR, which would have not been a good plan because of mountain obscuration in the area. He reported that the weather at LMT at the time he spoke with the accident pilot was VFR with light winds and scattered to broken clouds at 4,000 ft above ground level (agl).

An Oregon state trooper, who was conducting fish and wildlife surveillance in the area at the time of the accident with a second state trooper, reported that he heard a low-flying aircraft headed generally from the southeast to the northwest. The trooper stated that, at the time, he could not see the aircraft because the cloud cover was at treetop level. He heard the aircraft turn sharply to the left and stated that the engine was "screaming" like it was operating at full power. The trooper reported that he exited his vehicle to try to locate the aircraft, but he could not see it; the engine noise returned to normal as the aircraft headed in a southerly direction and away from him. The trooper stated that when he got back in his vehicle, the engine started to "rev up and scream again," as if it was in a hard turn. As he was getting ready to exit his vehicle again, he heard a loud pop and then complete silence. The trooper stated that the sky was clear when they left Klamath Falls that morning, but as they got closer to their decoy location, they "…hit a wall of clouds that were spitting snow all morning."

According to radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the accident airplane was first identified by the Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center radar system using transponder code 1200 at 1030:55, about 0.6 nautical mile (nm) northwest of the departure end of runway 32 at LMT, climbing through 4,800 ft mean sea level (msl). At 1033:07, the airplane leveled off at 6,300 ft msl about 5 nm west of LMT on a heading about 256°. At 1036:53, the airplane turned right to a heading of 280° and at 1039:04, started a climb from 6,200 ft msl. At 1041:52, after reaching its maximum altitude of 8,700 ft msl on a heading of 254°, the airplane started a descending left turn. From 1041:52 to 1042:16, the airplane descended from 8,700 ft msl to 8,100 ft msl at a rate of descent of 1,500 ft per minute (fpm). From 1042:16 to 1042:28, the airplane climbed from 8,100 to 9,000 ft at an average rate of 4,500 fpm. From 1042:28 to 1042:40, the airplane descended from 9,000 to 7,100 ft at an average rate of descent of 9,500 fpm and an average ground speed of 40 knots. The last radar return was at 1042:40 at an altitude of 7,100 ft (1,700 ft agl), and about 638 ft west of the accident site. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 54, 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: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/05/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 170 hours (Total, all aircraft), 16 hours (Total, this make and model), 52 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 23 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 23 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land and did not possess an instrument rating. He was issued a third-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman medical certificate on October 5, 2016, with a limitation that stated, "must have available glasses for near vision."

A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated 170 total hours of flight experience, of which 52 hours were as pilot-in-command and 16 hours in the accident airplane make and model, of which 10 hours were logged as pilot-in-command. The pilot had accumulated a total of 3 hours of simulated instrument flight time. In the preceding 90 days, 30 days and 24 hours, the pilot had flown 23 hours, 16 hours, and 1 hour, respectively.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N6083D
Model/Series: SR22 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0612
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/13/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 23 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1439.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550 SERIES
Rated Power: 310 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The four-seat, low-wing, fixed-gear airplane, serial number 0612, was manufactured in 2003. It was powered by a Continental-IO-550-N7B engine, rated at 310 horsepower, which drove a Hartzell constant-speed propeller. A review of maintenance logbooks revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on September 25, 2017, at an airframe total time of 1,436.7 hours. The airplane had accrued 23.3 hours since a 100-hour inspection on December 1, 2016.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: LMT, 4095 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 24 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1053 PDT
Direction from Accident Site: 110°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Partial Obscuration
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Obscured
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 16 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 310°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Heavy - Fog; Light - Mist
Departure Point: Klamath Falls, OR (LMT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Medford, OR (MFR)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1030 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

At 1053, the weather reporting facility at LMT, located about 24 nm east-southeast of the accident site, reported wind from 310° at 9 knots (kts), gusts to 16 kts, 10 miles visibility, overcast clouds at 4,500 ft, temperature 11°C, dew point -1°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury.

At 1053, the weather reporting facility at MFR, located about 27 nm west-southwest of the accident site, reported calm wind, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 3,400 ft, broken clouds at 6,000 ft, temperature 14°C, dew point 6°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.19 inches of mercury.

An AIRMET advisory was issued at 0745 by the National Weather Service (NWS) Aviation Weather Center (AWC) for mountain obscuration and was active for the accident location at the time of the event. Additionally, at 0745, AIRMET SIERRA was issued for instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions for a region very close to the accident location and advised of ceilings below 1,000 ft, visibility below 3 statute miles, precipitation, and mist. For additional information, refer to the NTSB Weather Study, which is appended to the docket for this report.

An Area Forecast, which was issued in Medford, Oregon at 0832 by the NWS, revealed that satellite imagery showed widespread instrument meteorological conditions near the area of the accident site, with terrain and mountains obscured through late morning.

Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-15 visible data revealed cloudy conditions at the accident site and over the accident region. Minimum infrared cloud-top temperatures in the area immediately surrounding the accident location were -4°C, which, according to the HRRR model sounding, corresponded to cloud top heights of about 9,000 ft.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 42.253611, -122.265556

A survey of the accident site revealed that the airplane initially impacted a tree about 25 ft above the ground on a northeast heading, then impacted the base of a second tree and continued northeast before coming to rest about 100 ft from the initial impact point. The airplane was highly fragmented. The vertical stabilizer and attached rudder, the horizontal stabilizer, and the left and right elevators were located along the wreckage path, which was about 160 ft long and about 45 ft wide.

The nose landing gear was located just south of the main impact crater. The separated propeller, with two blades attached to their respective hubs, was located at the northeast side of the main impact crater. The third propeller blade and the left main landing gear and tire were found within the crater.

The left wing, which was destroyed by impact forces, was located just left of the second impact point. The right wing, which was also destroyed by impact forces, was located about halfway between the second tree impact point and the main wreckage. The aft fuselage, engine, wing spar, and forward section of the fuselage/cabin and cockpit were located at the main wreckage site. The engine was crushed aft into the cockpit/cabin area, and the empennage was destroyed.

The Avidyne multi-functional display (MFD) and primary functional display were both observed in the debris field; each had been destroyed by impact forces. The MFD compact flash memory card was sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for examination and download of non-volatile data; however, the memory card was damaged in the accident and the data could not be downloaded.

The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System was expelled from the aircraft by impact forces. The parachute was unfurled and located about 40 ft northeast of the main wreckage.

The engine was found with the main wreckage, partially attached to the firewall and instrument panel, and exhibited impact damage to the crankcase and cylinders. The magnetos, starter and alternator were broken from their mounts and located in the wreckage path between the initial impact crater and the main wreckage. The propeller governor was fractured from the engine and not observed on scene. The oil sump was torn from the bottom of the crankcase. The oil pump housing exhibited impact damage. The induction manifold and tubes were torn from the engine and located in the debris field. The fuel pump remained partially attached to the engine and exhibited impact damage. The fuel manifold valve had separated from the engine and was located within the debris field and was damaged. The exhaust system was mostly separated from the engine and exhibited impact damage, crushing and bending. Some of the exhaust risers remained attached to the cylinders and were crushed upward into the cylinders.

Examination revealed no mechanical anomalies of the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. A full report of the examination is contained within the public docket for this accident.

Medical And Pathological Information

The Oregon State Medical Examiner, Clackamas, Oregon, conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be "massive blunt trauma." There was no record of toxicological testing performed on the pilot.

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