Friday, July 02, 2021

Cirrus SR22 G5 GTS, N100ZW: Accident occurred July 01, 2021 in Fort Myers, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Florida

Aircraft experienced an engine failure and deployed the ballistic parachute system. 

Fetch Aviation LLC

Date: 01-JUL-21
Time: 23:40:00Z
Regis#: N100ZW
Aircraft Make: CIRRUS
Aircraft Model: SR22
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91


  1. Moments from landing, possible fuel exhaustion if consumption on the leg going north was the basis for calculating limited refuel before returning south. Wouldn't be the first Cirrus pilot trying to out guess the low fuel warning/remaining and stretch the finish.

    Chute ride on video.

    1. This was a training flight with a CFI and student. If you listen to the ATC comms the throttle broke as they were defending from 12000 ft. All they had was idle with no prop control (Cirrus does not have a prop control) The determined with no power and a flat prop dragging and slowing them down they could not make the airfield. Thus the CAPS pull. If you look at the area, homes, canals etc not safe place for an off field landing.

  2. Notice the pilot's thinking in the clip--that the parachute is a great out. That mindset is undoubtedly a big factor in why Cirrus accidents, and a lot of them fatal, have just been routine again in the news lately. Keep it up, and the insurance companies will price them right out of the market.

    1. This was a training flight with a CFI in the right seat. They were on an instrument approach from 13000 ft. Approx 15 miles out they experience a throttle failure. All they had was idle, no power what so ever. With not prop control and the drag from the flat prop the decision was made to pull the CAPS. No place to put down in a major urban area with homes, canals and river.

    2. Sad to have a throttle control fail at the wrong time. Hundreds of throttle up/down cycles in seven years of use since production and it breaks on approach without enough altitude remaining to glide to the field. Lack of separate prop pitch control is a bug, not a feature.

    3. Reluctant_Poster - can you cite any of the opinions you provided? I checked the accident data records and they appearing to me to be the very opposite of what you said.

    4. A quick search of the NTSB database shows some 60 Cirrus accidents just since June of 2019, at least 22 of which involved serious or fatal injuries.

  3. @Cameron_Young: I'm still leaning towards fuel exhaustion. FMY has cheap fuel and I know many pilots who fly out of FMY will ferry fuel because of it. The return flight took 30+ minutes longer than the original flight. Looking at FlightAware history, historically they've made the flight in under 3 hours. The return leg took 3:24, not including ground time, so a heck of a headwind.

    As far as only getting idle power, yes, this can happen with fuel exhaustion. I had it happen one time in a car which had a progressive fuel gauge failure, which caused it to show about 50% more fuel than was in the tank. I made a turn and couldn't get the car to accelerate. The engine kept running, but the gas pedal input made virtually no difference. I had at least a full minute of the engine running at idle before it finally died. I believe this particular SR22 is equipped with a FADEC system. As to how it responds to a low fuel pressure situation, I'm not sure as I've not flown it, but I would expect it to be comparable.

    Now the fun question -- could he have made the airfield? Possibly. He was probably trying to duck underneath RSW's Class C airspace which is right where that point on the north side of the river is. He was coming in hot & high and an SR22 has a glide ratio similar to a C172. When did he notice he was short on power? Good question.

    Everyone survived, so I'd say the pilot did a good job.

    1. The exact words of the pilot to ATC when he declared his emergency was "stuck throttle". I'm no expert on the SR22, but I've never heard of fuel exhaustion causing the throttle control to bind up and become immovable. One might suggest he was claiming a stuck throttle to hide the fact he actually negligently ran out of fuel, but it seems fairly implausible to come up with a deceptive tactic like that in the heat of an emergency.

      In any case, it looks like it landed fairly intact and SR22s have pretty good onboard data collection, so it should be easy for the NTSB to figure out if it actually ran out of fuel or something else happened here.