Saturday, September 05, 2020

Cirrus SR22, N733CD: Fatal accident occurred September 04, 2020 in Chester, Crawford County, Arkansas

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. 

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas
Cirrus; Duluth, Minnesota 
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 
Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association; Las Vegas, Nevada

Location: Chester, AR
Accident Number: CEN20LA379
Date & Time: 09/04/2020, 2055 CDT
Registration: N733CD
Aircraft: Cirrus SR22
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


On September 4, 2020, about 2055 central daylight time, a Cirrus SR22 airplane, N733CD, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Chester, Arkansas. The private pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to initial information, the accident pilot called his flight instructor/airplane mechanic at the Muskogee-Davis Regional Airport (MKO), near Muskogee, Oklahoma, on September 4, 2020, about 1900, and advised the mechanic that he intended to fly to North Carolina. The mechanic advised the pilot to leave in the morning. Fueling records showed the accident airplane was refueled about 1949, with 36.41 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline.

According to initial radar data, the airplane departed from MKO about 2027. The airplane flew eastward, had climbed up through 8,500 ft, and the pilot established radio communication with an air traffic controller. The pilot was asked by the controller where the flight was destined and the pilot said it was Pickens County Airport, near Pickens, South Carolina. The airplane was radar-identified, was issued depicted weather, and the controller suggested a 20° right turn for the weather. The airplane flew about 4 four miles on this heading and then reversed course. The flight was queried on its heading and the pilot replied that they were returning to MKO. The airplane was observed on a northwest heading by the controller who asked the pilot if he still intended to return to MKO, and advised the pilot that the airplane appeared to be on a heading of 340°. The pilot replied that the airplane had been caught by the wind and he was correcting its course. However, the airplane turned northeast and began descending. The controller issued the flight a 20° left turn and no response was received in reference to that turn. The controller then advised the flight to turn left heading 270°. The pilot acknowledged the 270° heading. The airplane continued to descend and turn right. The controller then advised that the flight appeared to be losing altitude rapidly and advised the pilot to level the airplane's wings, and fly southbound. The controller subsequently queried the flight multiple times, advised that radar contact was lost, and no response was received. An alert notice was issued, a search conducted, and the wreckage was found in wooded terrain on September 5, 2020.


The 31-year-old pilot reported that he had accumulated 11 hours of total flight time and 11 hours of flight in last six months before his last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examination for a third-class medical certificate dated November 29, 2017, issued with no limitations. The pilot was given a notice of disapproval after his initial attempt at a private pilot examination on October 27, 2019. The pilot's areas of deficiency were in preflight preparation, operation of systems, which included knowledge of constant speed propellers and knowledge of instruments associated with the pitot and vacuum systems. The pilot successfully passed the retesting for his private pilot certificate on November 3, 2019.


According to its website, Cirrus Embark is a program designed exclusively for new owners of pre-owned Cirrus aircraft. The program includes complimentary training to address the specific needs of pilots and owners of pre-owned Cirrus aircraft. The program consists of a maximum of 3 full days of flight training. The pilot requested and was granted this training program on January 13, 2020. According to initial information, the pilot accumulated about 100 to 120 hours of total time at the time of his application. Direct owners or designated pilots of pre-owned Cirrus aircraft must enroll into Cirrus Embark within 30 days of aircraft delivery. Once enrolled into the program, the owner or designated pilot must complete the training within 60 days. According to Cirrus training records, the pilot completed all the flight training lessons. However, he did not complete all the online self-study lessons.

The accident airplane was a four-place, single engine, low-wing airplane. An FAA bill of sale document showed the airplane was sold to the accident pilot on January 4, 2020. According to copies of airplane logbook entries, an annual inspection was completed on June 2, 2020 and the airplane accumulated 2,053.8 hours of total time at the time of that inspection. The airplane was equipped with an ARNAV Systems, Inc ICDS (integrated cockpit display system) 2000 unit, which is a moving map multifunction display that also displays engine data.

The airplane was fitted with a Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) advertised by the airplane manufacturer to recover the airplane and its occupants to the ground in the event of an in-flight emergency. The CAPS contains a parachute (within a deployment bag) located within a fiberglass CAPS enclosure compartment, a solid-propellant rocket contained within a launch tube to deploy the parachute, a pick-up collar assembly and attached Teflon-coated steel cable lanyard and incremental bridle, a rocket activation system that consisted of an activation T-handle, an activation cable, and a rocket igniter, and a harness assembly which attached the parachute to the fuselage.


The airplane impacted wooded terrain about 22 miles north of the Fort Smith Regional Airport, Fort Smith, Arkansas. An FAA inspector examined and documented the wreckage site. A section of upper tree canopy exhibited signs consistent with blighting. The wreckage path exhibited a descending path, about 30° down, through the woods from the upper canopy to the engine and cabin impact site had a heading of about 220°. The debris field, which started about the area of blighting and continued southwest beyond the cabin and engine impact area was consistent with this heading as well. Charring and discoloration consistent with a small ground fire was present on items in the impact area. The propeller was found separated from the engine, and a propeller blade was separated just outboard of its hub. The remaining two blades exhibited leading edge nicks and gouges. A portion of the CAPS parachute was strewn out in the debris field northeast of the impact area and the remainder of the CAPS parachute was observed in its deployment bag. The CAPS rocket was found in a ravine about 200 ft north of the impact site. Components of the wings, engine, empennage, and fuselage were identified at the accident site. The cockpit instrumentation was fragmented, and no useful information was able to be collected from them. However, non-volatile memory installed in the ICDS unit has been retained to see if it contains data in reference to the accident flight.

The airplane and engine were recovered and have been retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus
Registration: N733CD
Model/Series: SR22 Undesignated
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: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFSM, 449 ft msl
Observation Time: 2053 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 22 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Muskogee, OK (MKO)
Destination: Pickens, SC (LQK) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.686111, -94.252500 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

CHECOTAH, Oklahoma — A family is in mourning following a plane crash that left four people dead, including a child.

The family from Checotah was flying to South Carolina to visit extended family Friday for the holiday weekend when their plane crashed in Crawford County, Arkansas, 21 miles north of Fort Smith.

Paul “PD”, 57, Kevin, 32, Holly, 29, and 7-year-old Gavin Herron all died in the crash. Kevin and Holly are married, Gavin is their son, and Paul is Kevin’s dad. The three adults all graduated from Checotah High School.

Kevin served in the U.S. Marines for four years, including three deployments abroad. Holly was finishing up school to become a teacher. Gavin was a student at Marshall Elementary School in Checotah, and loved Legos and Batman.

Paul was well known in the community and served as assistant fire chief at the FAIC Volunteer Fire Department until 2017.

The family all loves the outdoors and lived life to the fullest.

Family of the victims says they are grateful for the love, support, and prayers from the community, saying in a statement, “PD, Kevin, Holly as well as Gavin all lived life to the fullest. They loved their families, they loved their work, and enjoyed everything life had to offer. We want the memories of the life they lived to outlast the tragedy of their death”

You can donate to the funeral costs here.

Kevin Herron, center, and his seven-year-old son Gavin, right, have fun riding logs with Gavin's uncle David Ward during a family outing in Checotah. Kevin and Gavin along with David's sister and Kevin's wife Holley and Kevin's father Paul were killed in a plane crash on September 4th, 2020 outside of Chester, Arkansas, in Crawford County.

Amanda Schulz of Checotah said the Herron family is very special to her.

Paula Herron, also a Checotah resident, was a home health nurse for Schulz's special-needs son for seven years. Paula's husband, Paul, 57, along with her son Kevin, 32, Kevin's wife Holley, 29, and their 7-year-old son Gavin were killed Friday night as a result of injuries resulting from a plane crash in Crawford County, Arkansas, just outside the town of Chester.

Paula "was in my home 10-12 hours a day, three to four days a week, helping me take care of my special-needs son," Schulz said. "I've know her about 15 years -- she became part family to me, so I'm very protective of them."

Schulz started a GoFundMe page, "Expenses for Herron Family," to help raise money for funeral expenses.

"Kevin, Holley and Gavin did not have life insurance, so we wanted to take that step to relieve the families of the burden of trying to deal with that on top of the insurmountable issues that they're having with losing their loved ones quite suddenly and all at once," Schulz said. "So the GoFundMe is set up to help with the funeral expenses surrounding that."

Schulz, for the time being, is acting as a spokesperson for the families involved. During a Zoom meeting on Monday, Schulz read a statement prepared by the Herrons and Holley's parents: Dee Ann and Elbert Ward. Family members expressed their gratitude to the community and thanked everyone for their support.

"It's been a long few days, and it's not over," Schulz said. "I could never have imagined being in this situation. I am proud and honored that the families have asked me to represent them."

The four Herrons who perished were traveling to the East Coast to visit family on the East Coast. Because they had been unable to travel due to COVID-19, and decided fly.

Kevin was a sales representative for Snap-On Tools who served four years during three deployments with the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a licensed pilot and owned a Cirrus SR22. 

Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown said the plane crashed Friday evening and was found Saturday morning.

Brown said air traffic controllers at the Fort Smith airport tower lost contact with the Cirrus SR22 while trying to help Kevin Herron land at Drake Field near Fayetteville. Brown said the aircraft was destroyed.

"They thought rather than drive and expose themselves to lots of different people and lots of different situations, they had decided that Kevin would fly them to see extended family for the holiday weekend," Schulz said."  

Paul, who was known to everyone as PD, served as an assistant chief at the FAIC Volunteer Fire Department until 2017 and worked in the oil fields. 

Holley and Kevin graduated from Checotah High School.

Holley attended Connors State College and Northeastern State University. She expected to receive during her test scores Tuesday and find out whether she had qualified for her teaching license. 

Gavin was enrolled in at Marshall Elementary.

The Herrons were remembered as a bowling family. Lori Barnard of Fast Lanes Bowl in Checotah said it's a "tragic loss."

"All we can say at Fast Lanes is they will all be missed — greatly," Barnard said. "We are all grieving and very upset right now."

Services remain pending. The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Crawford County Sherif

f's Department are still investigating the cause of the crash.

"Any donations will be appreciated," Schulz said. "We are just trying to help a family not have to stress about something like that in a situation like this."


  1. FlightAware route image includes 9:40 PM EDT time tagged weather snapshot overlay. Drake Field is about 20 miles north of the last track log data point of 9:55:40 PM EDT, which shows high airspeed and rapid descent.

    1. Based only on Flightaware detail in above link looks like possible VFR into IMC in area of thunderstorm and possible in-flight breakup. Highest terrain I could find in the area was only around 1700' MSL and Flightaware last altitude appears to be above 5,000' MSL with high rate of descent and high airspeed.

    2. Other news stories say that controllers lost radio and radar contact as they tried to help the airplane navigate around a storm. Original destination was South Carolina, was rerouting to Fayetteville due to storms in area.

    3. No major weather depicted between departure point and accident site. They were only 28 minutes into the flight. Direct course from MKO to Fayetteville is only 37 NM. They should have been able to see the thunderstorm(s) from the ground before departure.

      A simple reversal of course, a few minutes circling clear of clouds, or a major deviation completely around the weather rather than trying to thread their way thru an area of weather and they could have been on there way.

      "Usually" thunderstorms move on or diminish in intensity within 30 minutes.

  2. Owner pilot rating in Airmen Database does not include Instrument Airplane. Weather in area at the time of crash, possible VFR flight into IMC with spatial disorientation.

  3. I used to fly searches for the Civil Air patrol in the early 70's south of that area, its very rough and very few houses and not many lights. The storms were in that area and when we heard it on the TV I thought he had lost it. Another of the same type aircraft went down on MLK Blvd about 20 miles north of the Chester location about 2 years ago he deployed the chute and came down in the middle of the street

  4. News drone video of wreckage:

    Video with location context:

  5. I've not flown in a Cirrus however I was under the impression it has a fairly sophisticated auto pilot onboard. Even with a non-instrument rated pilot would that have not been a factor in navigating back to VFR? Also, the Facebook video above stated the chute had been deployed.

    1. With weather ahead, you would think that the pilot would pre-plan to execute 180 turn back by autopilot immediately after entering IMC. Maybe he was threading between cells using the weather mosaic on his cockpit display and got closed in. The mosaic lags real-time by several minutes. Look at the turn that was made.

      CAPS maximum demonstrated deployment speed is at 133 KIAS according to the POH. Whether it was overloaded due to high speed or deployed too late to fill out can be determined by inspection. The orange material of the chute is visible on the ground in the drone video.

    2. Last 2 airspeeds shown, 215 and 252 kts are WAY above the highest listed speed for chute deployment. There have been successful deployments reported above the recommended speed, but I think all of those were under 200 knots.

  6. undated "looking to buy sr22 - Marketplace - Forum - Marketplace ...
    controller shows tail N733CD serial 0134 for sale for $139,000."

  7. According to reports on the Cirrus owner page the aircraft actually broke up in flight. According to the report that came from FAA this is the first incidence of a breakup of a Cirrus. The probability of the cause of this breakup was severe turbulence caused by the storm. The maximum maneuvering speed for a SR22 of this vintage is 133 KTS. If they got into a severe up or down draft or some kind of rotator in the storm they could have easily exceed this by many times. When one looks at the flight tracking data it shows a rapid descent, could have been because of the storm or because the aircraft had broken up.
    Of note a Piper Jetprop inadvertently entered a storm approx 1 year ago and a wind and other parts were found some 2 miles from the fuselage indicating a in-flight breakup. Severe weather can cause almost any aircraft including military to have air-frame failures.
    Also of note it appears this flight left late and the accident happened approx 1.2 hours after sundown. No indication if the pilot who got his PPL in Nov of last year was night rated. It appears he was not IFR rated.
    One last comment, here is a family who by all accounts are very good people, a Marine with a good service record and 3 deployments, a wife who helps others a lot. WTH are people like this doing without some kind of life insurance?? The cost of this per year is the price of a tank of fuel for the plane for people who are young. I am sorry for being a bit harsh here but this circumstance really leave a huge burden on those family members who are left to pick up the pieces.

    1. Do reports on the Cirrus owner page confirm pieces found away from the crash site, or just a presumption based on last speed reported in the available ADS-B data?

      Inflight breakups happen, of course, but some parts shedding during high speed plunge after loss of control would not be a surprise, either.

    2. Quote from an unnamed insurance insider.
      At 8:55 PM CDT, 9/4, Crawford, AR. Cirrus SR22 (N733CD) crashed after inflight breakup during thunderstorm penetration. 4 POB, fatal. A/C was receiving radar flight following and was reversing course when both radar contact and voice comms were lost. IIC: E. Malinowski (CEN) investigating.

    3. The investigator in charge name is seen on lots of recent NTSB reports.

      It will be informative to learn whether the pilot had flight following before going inadvertent IMC or waited until he was in distress to request.

    4. After listening to LIVEATC, the pilot requested flight following after encountering IMC inflight (not all of the comms were recorded on the website, you can find it on the FYV archive.)

      I learned to fly in this area and the terrain is terrible for night navigation. Ironically, KFSM would have been visible to the south at that altitude since all the storms were north and moving south.

      The storms that night were downburst and downdraft driven and caused damage at the surface. I imagine the wind field velocity aloft was even greater as he encountered the initial push of outflow moving south.

    5. @ Cameron Young. I agree. Misplaced priorities. Someone can invest in a plane yet no investment in life insurance. This may seem mean spirited but it is a reality.

  8. As a 31,000 hour CFI/CFII/MEI/ATP/B-787 CA this accident of a fellow Oklahoma aviator makes me wonder how and why? A brand new private pilot flying a sophisticated high performance airplane is a recipe for disaster on a good day, but at night? Heading to South Carolina from Muskogee at 9:30PM? With weather? Suicide. Who was the examiner who gave this guy his license? Who was his instructor? Who sold him the plane? Who made him think he could do this foolish thing?

    1. At 31K hours, you are aware how the cheese lines up in this type of accident. Pilot makes decision to proceed with several unfavorable conditions in play, rationalizing each one because they don't want to stand down from the planned trip.

      Typical rationalizations include "we can turn back if no path thru on the cockpit weather display", "autopilot can fly the plane in IMC", "parachute is our backup".

      The pilot may have delayed starting out by a few hours for poor weather in view but perceived an opportunity to "go for it" instead of waiting till morning.

      Sometimes good people make bad decisions, in spite of what the CFI taught about ADM. Pilot probably had never been frightened senseless by experiencing real IMC previously or would not have entered or approached the weather as he did.

    2. Exactly. A ppl with the ink barely dry on the certificate truly does not know (no frigin clue actually) what he doesn’t know. Do you (31k ATP) really think no one, to include his CFI nor the Examiner ever mentioned “ might not want to fly near, in or around thunderstorms?” Stop trying to blame it on anybody else other than the guy who, unfortunately for him and his family, paid the ultimate price for HIS poor ADM.

    3. First I do not think the examiner who gave this guy a licence of the guy who sold him the aircraft have anything what soever to do with this accident. There are plenty of photo's online of Kevin training in a Cessna like most people do. By all accounts from comments on other sites he flew well, soloed early and did well on his flight and written test.
      As far as the seller goes, the same question could be asked of Beech selling all the Dr Killer new over the years, interestingly a Dr in a Bonanza perished just a few days ago.
      The Question many of us on the Cirrus group have is did Kevin get the Cirrus training, many purchasers do not. Just today a post was put on the Cirrus site to show the data on the chute statistics. Did he have the training from those who know how to train about the chute or just another tin flying CFI who tells students to ride the bird to the scene of the wreck??
      I think most accidents are based on bad judgement and very seldom hardware.
      It appears from this Kevin made some bad decisions and cost he and his family their lives. Lots of lessons, but will be learn???

    4. This accident illustrates the catch-22 situation where a pilot is not going to pull the chute in IMC while he still has control and a properly performing engine. Effective recovery by CAPS deployment during the plunge after LOC is not assured.

      Training on CAPS deployment as a solution for LOC won't teach the pilot much more than "it can't hurt to try", which is pretty much the message already given in the POH Section 10 "Loss of Control" instructions.

      Perhaps Section 10 needs a paragraph titled "Inadvertent IMC by VFR pilots" that advises:
      "Immediately upon entering IMC, pilots who lack instrument flight certification or currency should reduce speed below 133 KIAS, level the aircraft and deploy CAPS"

      Seems absurd to propose such an instruction, but think how great the chute statistics for "recovery from IMC" could look afterwards in a marketing brochure.

      In all seriousness, additional Cirrus-specific training won't stop bad decisions to fly into or too near IMC weather. Every "tin flying CFI" knows that betting your life on chute recovery from LOC is no substitute for good ADM.

    5. Scott Crossfield died when his plane broke up in a thunderstorm, so the capabilities, experience and skills of a high time pilot is no guaranty they won't die in a thunderstorm some day. This poor pilot just died with a lot fewer hours in his logbook than Crossfield did. Perhaps he died and took his family with him because he was clueless, or perhaps he was properly trained but misinterpreted something in the way Crossfield likely did. We will never know for sure. But it seems like they both probably took a risk that some pilots are comfortable doing while other pilots are not. If three other pilots had been in the seats of that Cirrus, looking at its MFD with XM or ADSB weather displayed, would the thunderstorm taken them all just the same? I like to think that at least one of them would have loudly objected to the risk this Cirrus pilot accepted, and thus prevented the accident. It's a tragedy that this pilot's family did not have such a pilot on board.

      The mystery is why pilots of any experience level do this. Why does being close to unseen thunderstorms, without knowing exactly where they are but knowing they are there, not cause the same degree of alarming emotions as walking in shorts and flip-flops through a slithering pack of ten foot King Cobras? We don't need training to know that's lethal. The feeling of dread and the intense desire to get away where you can visually observe them at a safe and sure distance should be the same with thunderstorms as with Cobras. Why isn't it for some pilots?

    6. "Why does being close to unseen thunderstorms, without knowing exactly where they are but knowing they are there". I think the availability of technology like real time weather in cockpit may actually remove the very important feeling of FEAR that pilots should have near storms. Even airline pilots with actual radar cones in the nose stay far away from storms.

    7. And airline pilots with actual radar cones in the nose are seeing real time conditions, not a ground transmitted mosaic that is several minutes old.

      The combination of not staying away from storms and relying on delayed weather imaging will result in many deaths by those who are overly gadget-reliant and oblivious to traditional caution. Taking such risks as a low time VFR-only pilot is madness.

  9. at this point what is know of Kevin is "He was a licensed pilot and owned a Cirrus SR22"
    Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT
    Date of Issue: 11/3/2019
    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 11/2017
    Ratings: PRIVATE PILOT
    N733CD Last Action Date 2020-02-24
    Unknown hours, acft, or endorsements

  10. Preliminary report says the pilot called his flight instructor/airplane mechanic at 1900 about starting the trip that evening. He advised the pilot to leave in the morning.

    A preventable tragedy.

  11. Fri 21:50:43 35.6525 -94.3431 → 91° 115 132 8,500 480 Climbing
    Fri 21:51:03 35.6516 -94.3308 → 103° 112 129 8,700 450 Climbing
    Fri 21:51:23 35.6483 -94.3188 ↘ 111° 112 129 8,800 367 Climbing
    Fri 21:51:52 35.6428 -94.3010 → 107° 110 127 9,000 391 Climbing
    Fri 21:52:09 35.6405 -94.2910 → 99° 105 121 9,100 500 Climbing
    Fri 21:52:28 35.6399 -94.2801 → 93° 103 119 9,300 -154 Descending
    Fri 21:52:48 35.6416 -94.2688 → 67° 124 143 9,000 -1,200 Descending
    Fri 21:53:08 35.6440 -94.2527 → 105° 159 183 8,500 -600 Descending
    Fri 21:53:28 35.6344 -94.2419 ↓ 182° 142 163 8,600 462 Climbing
    Fri 21:53:47 35.6274 -94.2509 ← 275° 117 135 8,800 -171 Descending
    Fri 21:54:03 35.6334 -94.2589 ↖ 334° 146 168 8,500 -833 Descending
    Fri 21:54:23 35.6471 -94.2646 ↑ 343° 151 174 8,300 -324 Descending
    Fri 21:54:40 35.6586 -94.2685 ↑ 341° 150 173 8,300 -324 Descending
    Fri 21:55:00 35.6705 -94.2781 ↖ 327° 155 178 8,100 -1,050 Descending
    Fri 21:55:20 35.6856 -94.2802 ↑ 21° 187 215 7,600 -3,450 Descending
    Fri 21:55:40 35.6936 -94.2625 → 110° 219 252 5,800 -5,400 Descending
    Fri 21:56:07 Arrival () @ Friday 21:56:07 EDT

  12. Reading this tragedy, I have some quotations and observations.
    1) The pilot was given a notice of disapproval after his initial attempt at a private pilot examination on October 27, 2019. The pilot's areas of deficiency were in preflight preparation, operation of systems, which included knowledge of constant speed propellers and knowledge of instruments associated with the pitot and vacuum systems. The pilot successfully passed the retesting for his private pilot certificate on November 3, 2019.
    So, on Oct 27th 2019 (a Sunday) he failed preflight but on Nov 3rd, the next Sunday, he passed. My guess is that his knowledge of the complex and pneumatic systems was poor but he passed the test after finding the right answers. I doubt he actually studied and the next paragraph is why I think that.
    2) According to initial information, the accident pilot called his flight instructor/airplane mechanic at the Muskogee-Davis Regional Airport (MKO), near Muskogee, Oklahoma, on September 4, 2020, about 1900, and advised the mechanic that he intended to fly to North Carolina. The mechanic advised the pilot to leave in the morning. Fueling records showed the accident airplane was refueled about 1949, with 36.41 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline.
    So, nearly a year after the remedial preflight, he calls his mechanic/instructor at about 7pm Sept 4 2020 and says that he wants to fly to South Carolina from Oklahoma. His instructor says to leave in the morning, yet he fuels up at 7:49pm, not morning (1949). Ignoring his instructor combined with failing preflight one Sunday and passing it the next Sunday indicates the attitude of slip shoddiness and treating the aircraft like a fast ground vehicle. This is an Eleven Hour pilot. As I understand it, the onboard weather has a lag of several minutes and that can provide enough false information to be a problem which could be overcome by software such as Foreflight.
    3) CAPS maximum demonstrated deployment speed is at 133 KIAS according to the POH.
    If a parachute system cannot be deployed at speeds up to and including VNE, then what good is it? For "under control emergencies" only? This is a huge weakness of the safety system. I have heard people say that Cirrus could only get certified with a parachute due to spin recovery difficulties. It would shock me if a Cirrus rep said otherwise, and they have denied my statement to me before. After a long drive, my left arm was tired and I was glad that my right arm could take the wheel easily. Not the case in a Cirrus. These are not the aircraft for amateurs, especially those who ignore their instructors advice and, in my opinion, pass the test rather than learn the material.

    1. I think your comments in 1 and 2 are pretty accurate. The pilot spend most of his flight hours in a Cessna. He had only recently bought this aircaft. Of note there is not prop control on a Cirrus so that part of the equation in mute.
      With regard to the BRS CAPS system. I think you need to understand the development of the aircraft and the reasons.
      First and foremost the SPIN question is absolutely false. The Cirrus SR 20 and 22 were put in Spins numerous times for European certification. The recovery is standard. Power to idle, neutral ailerons, opposite rudder and full forward deflection on elevator until the spin stops and then recover from the dive. The CAPS system has nothing to do with spin with regard to the Cirrus.
      With regard to deployment parameter I think it would be impossible to have a foolproof system that can deploy at high speeds. The attachment points, the straps etc all have a limit of what they can sustain.
      The system was designed with engine failure in mind not spins and unusual attitude. There is no foolproof system. However the CAPS when deployed within parameters has a 100% survival rate.
      With regard to this pilot, he was simply not ready for this flight and should have, could have would have.....
      The actual report from the investigation so far is that the aircraft actually broke up in flight. If this is true this is the first such incident involving over 8000 flying Cirrus aircraft.
      He was talking to ATC and it appears he entered an extreme weather event and is simply tore the aircraft apart.
      There is a Piper Jetprop on this page from a year ago that entered some severe weather in the Carolina's I believe and came apart in flight. The found the wind and some other parts some 2 or 3 miles from the crash sight of the fuselage. All I can think of when I read these kinds of reports is how terrible those last few minutes of these peoples lives must have been.
      Weather, never screw with it in GA aircraft.

  13. And no matter how incompetent this pilot was there will be as many lawsuits as the number of passengers squared is my estimate. Cirrus, ATC, the dead's pilot estates etc...
    We need tort reform when innocent bystanders i.e Cirrus, the FAA and the flight school who trained this pilot have absolutely nothing to do with his decision making and misuse of his privilege to fly and a tragedy becomes a financial instrument for sociopaths to extract $$$ and where justice is really an afterthought.

    1. The ballistic parachute manufacturer, the avionics manufacturer, the engine manufacturer, the fuel supplier, the safety harness manufacturer, and many others (i.e., "DOES 1-100"). Your comments regarding tort reform and sociopaths extracting $$$ are exactly right. But, as most legislators are lawyers, there is zero chance of tort reform. I was shocked when Congress passed the GARA with its statute of repose.

  14. Low hour pilot (mostly in a Cessna) flying cross country at night in a slippery plane with possible bad weather around and was told by his instructor/mechanic to wait till morning. Then to make it worse he took his family!!!! He might be a Veteran but, he's a murderer now.

  15. "Kevin, Holley and Gavin did not have life insurance".
    Right there... this also probably means he had no insurance on the plane and was probably ill equipped to deal with the expenses of maintaining and keeping airworthy a slippery high performance machine.
    And sorry but YOUR FREEDOM to mess up your finances and not have any sort of plan B for financial hardship stops at my wallet. I will will not pay extra insurance or fees or face more scrutiny when I fly just because some dumbass, for lack of a better word, decides to litigate to make up for their financial incompetence.
    I say Aviation has to be excluded from torts, and mandatory no-fault liability insurance forced on anyone owning a plane.

    We need:
    1) The few number of pilots vs. the general population and the relatively low impact of deaths in GA (a few hundred) vs. the rest
    2) The disproportionate perception of the Aviation field as the domain of the wealthy making anyone involved target for lawsuits.
    3) Any accident will be automatically "no fault" and the pilot's insurance will automatically pay out.

    1. Kevin did have insurance on the plane. He also took great care of the plane and had plenty of money for the upkeep. No Kevin, Holly and Gavin did not have life insurance but I don’t know very many people in their early 30s that carry life insurance. As far as the claim of “insurmountable expenses” this is nothing but a lie from members of the family that is just trying to cash out on the death of the family. Kevin did not ever put his family in any kind of financial hardships as you claim. The family was practically debt free with a million in assets.

      The truth of the matter is that Kevin did no kill his family on purpose. It was a terrible terrible accident.

    2. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, definition 2 a) of the word _accident_ states:
      -> an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance
      So yes, a terrible accident indeed.

  16. Trying to be a bada$$ and his family paid the ultimate sacrifice for his poor judgement. Sad!

  17. Such a needless and avoidable tragedy. How many hundreds and hundreds of times have we read or heard over the decades of someone who knew advising someone who THOUGHT he knew not to go, wait for better weather, make another plan, be patient... There are no do-overs.


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