NTSB Identification: ERA11FA414
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 23, 2011 in Palm Bay, FL
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N122HB
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Minor.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On July 23, 2011, about 1232 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus Design Corporation SR22, N122HB, registered to N122HB LLC, and operated by a private individual, sustained substantial damage during an attempted forced landing to an open field near Palm Bay, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight from Albert Whitted Airport (SPG), St. Petersburg, Florida, to Melbourne International Airport (MLB), Melbourne, Florida. The certificated private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The flight originated from SPG about 1146.
According to preliminary air traffic control information, after takeoff the flight proceeded towards the destination airport and air traffic control (ATC) communications were transferred to several facilities. About 1225, while in contact with a sector of the Central Florida Terminal Radar Approach Control facility, the pilot requested clearance to descend and maintain 2,000 feet which was approved. The flight continued and about two minutes later the controller cleared the flight to descend and maintain 1,500 feet which the pilot acknowledged. The controller also advised the pilot of the location of weather returns, and he reported that he may deviate to the south to avoid a cell.
The rear seat passenger later stated that when the flight was getting close to MLB, the pilot explained to her and the right front seat passenger of adverse weather over MLB, and he would divert to Valkaria Airport (X59), Valkaria, Florida, to get fuel and wait for the storm to pass MLB. Shortly after turning to the south, she felt the airplane shudder, then it became quite.
The preliminary ATC information indicates that about 1231, while flying about 1,100 feet, the pilot declared mayday and advised the controller that there was smoke coming out of the engine. The controller immediately informed the pilot of the location of MLB and X59 airports from his position; the pilot advised the controller that he was unable to land at either one and was looking for an off-site landing. The controller again informed the pilot of the distance from MLB and X59, and the pilot informed the controller that there was a fire and he needed to make an off-site landing. The controller asked the number of souls on board and the pilot responded with three. There was no further recorded communication from the pilot. About 1233, the controller broadcast on the frequency that radar contact was lost; there was no reply.
The rear seat passenger further stated that after hearing the pilot tell the right front seat passenger to get into a position, she ducked to make herself as small as possible. The airplane bounce twice then began to flip. When the airplane came to rest, she unbuckled herself and ran away from the airplane to begin looking for help, but noted "...miles and miles of field...."
Three witnesses who were located about 1/2 nautical mile northwest from the crash site reported the airplane flew over their position about 400 to 500 feet in a direction that was determined to be about 100 degrees magnetic. They reported that the engine was sputtering and "coughing", but they did not see any smoke trailing the airplane. The airplane kept descending, and at the last minute banked hard to the right with the wings reported to be vertical. The nose pitched down, and they lost sight behind trees. They heard an impact, saw white colored smoke, called 911, and proceeded to the site where they rendered assistance until first responders arrived.
Preliminary inspection of the accident site revealed the airplane first impacted on a paved road of an unpopulated open area. The airplane came to rest about 115 feet from the road contact point with the engine separated from the airplane and the propeller separated from the engine. The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) was not deployed. Engine powertrain components were found along the energy path between the road contact point and the resting location of the airframe. Initial inspection of the engine revealed holes on the top of the engine crankcase halves.
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