NTSB Identification: CEN12FA633
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 15, 2012 in Willard, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2013
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N436KS
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

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.

The pilot was conducting an instrument landing system approach in night instrument meteorological conditions at the time of the accident. Radar track data indicated that the airplane crossed the final approach course near the initial approach fix, about 11 miles from the runway. The airplane drifted through the localizer about 0.25 mile before crossing the localizer again and drifting about 0.25 mile to the opposite side of the localizer. The airplane flightpath then paralleled the localizer briefly. The track data indicated that the airplane entered a left turn, which resulted in about a 90-degree course change. About that time, the pilot requested radar vectors to execute a second approach. The airplane entered a second left turn that continued until the final radar data point, which was located about 420 feet from the accident site. During the second left turn, about 9 seconds before the final radar data point, the pilot transmitted, "I need some help." The data indicated that the accident airplane descended at an average rate of 6,000 feet per minute during the final 10 seconds of data. No further transmissions were received from the pilot. The airplane impacted an open area of a lightly wooded pasture located about 6 miles north-northwest of the destination airport. A witness reported hearing an airplane engine surge to high power about four times, followed by what sounded like a high speed dive. She heard the initial impact followed by an explosion. The postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any preimpact failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. The location and condition of the airframe parachute system were consistent with partial deployment at the time of ground impact. Based on the performance information depicted by the radar data, the pilot's request for assistance, and examination of the airplane at the accident scene, it is most likely the pilot became spatially disoriented in night meteorological conditions and subsequently lost control of the airplane.

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

The pilot's loss of airplane control as a result of spatial disorientation experienced in night instrument meteorological conditions.

Full narrative available

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