NTSB Identification: MIA04LA070.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 10, 2004 in N. Lauderdale, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2005
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp. SR22, registration: N916LJ
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported no discrepancies either during the preflight inspection or during the engine run-up before takeoff. He obtained his IFR clearance, and shortly after takeoff the flight encountered IMC at 400 feet MSL. While climbing, the vertical speed indicator suddenly decreased to 0, then increased to 2,000 FPM, then went back to 0. Moments later the altimeter began bouncing with very large deflections, then the attitude indicator did not agree with the turn coordinator. He did not activate the alternate static source as per the pilot's operating handbook, and advised the controller that he was "losing gauges" and he would be unable to execute an instrument landing system approach to the departure airport. He activated the cirrus airframe parachute system (CAPS), and the airplane descended into trees. The pilot indicated he had 105 hours actual instrument flight time. Following recovery, the pilot's attitude indicator (AI) and turn coordinator (TC) powered up normally when battery No. 2 was switched on. Approximately 1 teaspoon of water was found between the static port openings and the alternate static air valve in the static lines. Testing of the water sample revealed it contained 3.2 mg/L of fluoride, which is common in tap water. The airplane's static system was tested to 1,000 feet, and the flight instruments were found to operate erratic. The vertical speed indicator fluctuated between 500 and 2,000 feet per minute, the altimeter indicated 200 feet, the airspeed indicated 60 knots (KTS), and the instruments did not return to zero when the pressure was returned to sea-level. When pressurizing the pitot line to 100 KTS the airspeed was found to be "sticky" and was "leaking" approximately 5 KTS per minute. Testing of the pitot static system from the alternate air source revealed no discrepancies. Bench testing of the attitude indicator and turn coordinator, revealed no discrepancies. Damage to the master control unit (MCU) occurred while trying to jump start the engine post-accident. No pilot reports (PIREP's) indicated any significant turbulence over Florida at the time of the accident. The engine was run on the airplane for approximately 10-15 minutes with no discrepancies noticed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The erratic operation of the pitot-static system associated flight instruments due to water contamination, and the pilot's failure to take the appropriate corrective actions.

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