Saturday, January 04, 2020

Cirrus SR22 GTS, N323SR: Accident occurred January 02, 2020 near Duplin County Airport (KDPL), Kenansville, North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entity:  

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Kenansville, NC
Accident Number: ERA20LA064
Date & Time: 01/02/2020, 1015 EST
Registration: N323SR
Aircraft: Cirrus SR22
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On January 2, 2020, about 1015 eastern standard time, a Cirrus Design Corp. SR-22, N323SR, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain after the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) was activated near Kenansville, North Carolina. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to Cornerstone Aviation LLC. and operated by the commercial pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Worcester Regional Airport (ORH), Worcester, Massachusetts at 0645 and was destined for Curtis L Brown Jr. Field Airport (EYF), Elizabethtown, North Carolina.

The commercial pilot reported that the departure and enroute phase of flight were normal for about 3 and a half hours, until the airplane, while cruising at 6,500 ft mean sea level (msl), about 50 nautical miles from EYF, experienced three events nearly simultaneously. He first heard a "pop" that "wasn't huge," but caught his attention, then the autopilot disconnect aural alert sounded, and third, the airplane started "decelerating." He stated that the airplane just began to "slow down" and the engine "wasn't producing forward thrust." However, the propeller continued to rotate, and when he viewed the engine instruments, the engine RPM continued to read 1,600 RPM, all exhaust gas temperature (EGT) gauges read 0° F, but no other engine instrument was "red."

He reported that he adjusted the throttle lever after the partial loss of engine power; when it moved, the lever felt normal, but had no effect on the engine power. He also switched the fuel tank selector, but the engine condition did not change. He added there were no vibrations or engine sputtering. He maintained 88 knots indicated airspeed as the airplane descended, and about 2,000 ft msl, he decided to activate the CAPS with no airport nearby. Subsequently, the CAPS deployed, and the airplane impacted trees, where it became partially suspended in tree branches, with its right-wing impacting terrain below.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the airplane at the accident site, the airplane's fuselage and wings sustained substantial damage. The multi-function display fuel calculator indicated that 23 gallons of fuel remained onboard. The pilot reported that he departed with full fuel.

According to an airplane recovery crewmember, when the airplane's wings were removed to transport the airplane from the accident site, fuel was observed to flow from each of the wing's fuel tanks.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, with instrument airplane privileges. He was issued a second-class medical certificate in August 2019, where he reported a total of 4,000 total flight hours.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the low-wing airplane was powered by a Continental Motors IO-550-N 310-horsepower engine.

At 1056, the Kinston Regional Jetport (ISO), Kinston, North Carolina, hourly weather observation, about 20 nautical miles north of the accident site, included wind from a heading of 200° at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 14°C, and dew point 2°C.

The airplane was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus
Registration: N323SR
Model/Series: SR22 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: KISO, 94 ft msl
Observation Time: 1056 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 14°C / 2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 200°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Worcester, MA (ORH)
Destination: Elizabethtown, NC (EYF)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 35.085000, -77.895278 (est)

Willa and Abby after the Cirrus SR22 GTS crash.

There were two people, the pilot Ken Brown and his wife Becca, and two dogs on the plane, and officials say none were injured. Ken Brown says the flight appeared to be going normal until he heard silence. 

DUPLIN COUNTY, North Carolina (WITN) - A pilot whose plane crashed this morning in one Eastern Carolina county says the aircraft emergency parachute system was their lifesaver.

Emergency officials in Duplin County tell WITN News that everyone made it off the plane safely.

The crash happened off Tram Road, between Red Hill Road and Hunting Club Road, in the northern part of the county.

The FAA says a Cirrus SR22 GTS went down in a grove of trees around 10:25 a.m. The plane is suspended in trees about five feet off the ground.

Two people and two dogs were on board and the pilot deployed the aircraft emergency parachute system to help it land after an engine failure.

Ken Brown and his wife were on the plane. He said they were flying along and the engine just quit.

"In the moments before -- what was going on? Nothing -- boring -- boring -- boring -- flying along -- as we've done many times -- 6,500 feet about as boring as you can get -- until there was silence -- engine quit and beyond a couple of things of trying to figure out why the engine quit -- there's not an awful lot to do -- except figure out where you're going to end up," Brown said.

The plane left Southbridge, Massachusetts this morning and was headed to Venice, Florida. They had planned to land in Elizabethtown to refuel.

Brown, who has been flying for about 25 years, said the runway at the Duplin County Airport was within sight, but they weren't quite able to make it that far.

He said he was aiming to land in a field just beyond the trees and they came down a little shy of that goal. Brown said it's a miracle that he and his wife, and their two dogs, are okay.

In addition to the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the crash.

Story and video ➤


  1. Adorable Goldendoodles... Loveable!

  2. As Agent 86 Maxwell "Max" Smart would say, "Missed it by that much!" Glad they're all ok.

  3. They did well. Coming in level on the chute and bending the limbs as it came to a stop was gentle. Sometimes the flat landing on clear space is harsh, and there were T-posts that could puncture if they had landed on the wrong fence.

    Some chute landings make you wonder about head/spine discomfort:

  4. That field looks like a great landing spot

  5. Without the Cirrus airframe parachute this might not have been a "miracle."

  6. Almost made it to his fuel stop. Hmmm!!

  7. from 6500 feet sure looks like that field would have made a nice runway
    but if your paying for insurance and a parachute might as well use them

  8. Fly 700 miles and ran out of fuel 20 minutes from your scheduled refueling airport.

  9. Owned by a charter company but flown Part 91. Oops, at least there were no fare paying customers aboard.

  10. Fuel was found in both wings' tanks. Multi meter gauge estimated 23 gallons of fuel. They didn't run out of fuel . Reported "pop" may have been fuel pump failure.