NTSB Identification: ERA13LA012
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 06, 2012 in Birmingham, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2013
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N80KW
Injuries: 1 Serious,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 airplane was in instrument meteorological conditions, and the pilot intended to fly an instrument landing system approach. Review of non-volatile memory data revealed that the autopilot approach mode was armed as the airplane intercepted the localizer course and was descending toward 2,600 feet mean sea level (msl). At that time, the autopilot was selected to vertical speed (VS) mode with the altitude armed rather than selected to the altitude mode, which is one of the criteria for automatically arming the glideslope (GS) mode later in the approach. About 1 minute later, the autopilot automatically cancelled the VS mode and switched to altitude mode as the airplane reached 2,600 feet msl. However, at that time the airplane was above the glideslope by 53 percent needle deflection. The autopilot will not automatically arm the GS mode unless, in addition to the altitude mode being selected, the airplane is more than 10 percent needle deflection below the glideslope. As a result, the airplane remained above the glideslope until the autopilot was disconnected about 1 minute later. The pilot then attempted to hand-fly a missed approach; however, he was unable to maintain the heading or altitude assigned by air traffic control. He subsequently lost control of the airplane during a turn and elected to deploy the airplane's parachute system. The airplane came to rest in a vacant lot.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during a missed approach in instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's overreliance on the autopilot system and his inability to hand-fly the airplane once the autopilot was disconnected.

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