NTSB Identification: CEN11LA164
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 30, 2011 in Bennett, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/17/2011
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N787CB
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 that he was practicing night instrument approaches in visual flight rules conditions. During the accident approach, he said he was in a right turn and had turned his head to the right to look at some instrumentation. He felt the airplane accelerate and looked at his flight displays, which indicated he was in an extreme unusual attitude, possibly inverted. He attempted to recover from the unusual attitude but realized that he had severe vertigo and spatial disorientation, so he activated the airplaneā€™s ballistic parachute recovery system. After the parachute deployed, the airplane struck terrain in a nose low attitude, sustaining substantial damage. Postaccident inspection of the airplane disclosed no preimpact mechanical problems with the airplane. Federal Aviation Administration guidance indicates, that if neither horizon nor surface references exist, the attitude of an airplane must be determined by artificial means from the flight instruments. However, during periods of low visibility and night conditions, the supporting senses sometimes conflict with what is seen; when this happens, a pilot is particularly vulnerable to disorientation.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane during an instrument approach due to spatial disorientation.

Full narrative available

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