NTSB Identification: MIA01LA222.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 19, 2001 in Mitchell, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/06/2002
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp. SR-22, registration: N232CD
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot reported personally fueling the airplane himself the day before the accident from his own fuel tank. The day of the accident the pilot and 1 passenger departed on an uneventful 20 minute flight to another airport where 1 additional passenger boarded the airplane. The flight departed and during climbout at 6,500 feet msl with the autopilot engaged, the VFR pilot noted adverse weather ahead as depicted on the airplane's stormscope. He disengaged the autopilot and turned 90 degrees to the left to avoid the weather. The flight encountered IMC conditions and a downdraft losing 2,000-3,000 feet of altitude. The airplane then encountered an updraft during which the airspeed decreased and the engine quit. The pilot maintained a nose-low attitude to descend and placed the mixture control to the full rich position and turned on the auxiliary fuel pump in an effort to restore engine power. Engine power was not restored and the pilot performed a forced landing in a planted millet field. During recovery of the airplane, 28-30 gallons of fuel were noted in the left fuel tank and no fuel was noted in the right fuel tank which was later found to be compromised consisting of a crack. No fuel leakage was noted at the accident site from the point where the airplane touched down to the point where the airplane came to rest. Additionally, no fuel stains were noted on the upper or lower surfaces of the right wing. The fuel vents of both fuel tanks were clear and there were no obstructions of the fuel lines from either fuel tank to the center section of the wing. A temporary fuel tank was plumbed into the fuel selector valve and with it positioned to the left and right positions, fuel flow was noted at each fuel injector nozzle. Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity, no evidence of lack of lubrication was noted. The impulse couplings and components of both impulse couplings were broken. Metallurgical examination of the broken components of both impulse couplings revealed that with the exception of the main spring from the impulse coupling of the left magneto, all fracture surfaces exhibited overstress failure. The main spring of the impulse coupling of the left magneto exhibited fatigue signatures; the spring met specification for material, width, and thickness. The roll trim motor actuator was positioned to correct for a left wing heavy situation. According to a representative of the engine manufacturer, the damage to the impulse couplings for both magnetos was consistent with the magnetos being operated over an extended period of time at speeds below 450 magneto rpm. The airplane was equipped with a fuel caution light that would illuminate if one tank were empty and the other tank held less than 14 gallons of fuel; the light would not illuminate if one tank was empty and the other tank held greater than 14 gallons of fuel.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The poor in-flight planning by the pilot-in-command resulting in the total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation. Full narrative available
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