NTSB Identification: DEN07LA082.
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Accident occurred Monday, April 09, 2007 in Luna, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/30/2007
Aircraft: Cirrus SR22, registration: N953CD
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.
According to the pilot, he was climbing from 15,000 feet to 16,000 feet to avoid building thunderstorms and snow showers. The pilot reported that he was in instrument meteorological conditions when the airspeed indication started to decrease and then the airspeed and altimeter readouts, within the primary flight display, went to "hash marks." The pilot stated that he manually overrode the autopilot to initiate a descent, and turned the pitot heat on. The pilot report that shortly thereafter the airspeed indication returned. The pilot sensed that he was in a descent and "pulled back" to slow the airplane down and the attitude indicator went "haywire." The terrain warning system activated and the pilot elected to activate the ballistic recovery parachute on the airplane. The airplane impacted trees and came to rest inverted at the top of several trees, resulting in substantial damage. In later telephone conversations with the pilot, he was asked about the position of the pitot heat, during the course of the flight. The pilot stated that he was not continuously in the clouds and the pitot heat remained off. He stated further that initially, he might have inadvertently turned the icing protection system on instead of the pitot heat. The switches are right next to each other. An examination of the primary flight display, and multi-function display revealed a loss of air data, due to pitot tube icing. An examination of the remaining airplane systems revealed no anomalies.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's failure to activate the pitot heat while flying in the clouds and visible moisture, resulting in pitot tube contamination and the subsequent loss of air data for the primary flight display. Contributing to the accident was the icing conditions, and the pilot's subsequent spatial disorientation. Full narrative available
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