NTSB Identification: ERA12LA473
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 22, 2012 in Pickens, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/23/2014
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR-22, registration: N138CK
Injuries: 4 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.

A few minutes after leveling the airplane at a cruise altitude of 9,000 feet mean sea level, the pilot felt the engine slightly vibrate or “wiggle.” The propeller rpm then began to rise rapidly, and the pilot noted an engine oil pressure warning on the primary flight display. After unsuccessfully troubleshooting the engine problems, the pilot secured the engine and declared an emergency. An air traffic controller informed the pilot of an airport 4 miles from his location, and he turned the airplane toward that airport and prepared for an emergency landing. The pilot again unsuccessfully attempted to restart the engine and then resecured it while on the downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern. When the pilot turned the airplane toward the base leg of the traffic pattern at 1,200 feet, he added one notch of flaps, at which point, he felt the handling characteristics of the airplane change, and it began to feel “mushy.” He then retracted the flaps, and the condition worsened. As the airplane descended through 1,000 feet, the pilot thought that he had “lost control of the airplane” and decided to activate the airframe emergency parachute. The parachute deployed, and, within seconds, the airplane settled into trees about 2 miles from the airport. The airplane remained suspended in the trees until emergency personnel arrived on scene and rescued the occupants.
After the accident, the presence of oil was noted on the underside of the airplane. After the airplane was recovered from the trees, examination of the oil dipstick revealed small pieces of metal in the engine oil. Examination of the engine revealed that the crankshaft was fractured and that the crankcase exhibited varying degrees of fretting and lock-slot elongation on the main bearing supports, which is consistent with the application of insufficient torque on the cylinder through-bolts by maintenance personnel. New cylinders had been installed on the engine 113 hours before the accident. Because the cylinders were loose, the oil supply at the No. 2 main journal was shut off and the crankshaft broke, which resulted in the subsequent loss of oil pressure to the engine.

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

A total loss of engine power due to the failure of the crankshaft, which resulted from the application of insufficient torque on the cylinder through-bolts by maintenance personnel.

Full narrative available

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