CEN11LA112
CEN11LA112

On December 15, 2010, about 1945 Central Standard Time, a single-engine Cirrus Design SR22, N422MR, was substantially damaged during impact with terrain following a loss of engine power near Nacogdoches, Texas. The airline transport rated pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to Fifth Third Leasing Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, and was being operated by Martin Companies of Kilgore, Texas. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. The cross-country flight originated from the La Porte Municipal Airport (T41), La Porte, Texas, and was en route to the East Texas Regional Airport (GGG), Longview, Texas.

According to the pilot, after dropping off a passenger at T41 he departed for a return trip to GGG. While en route, the propeller began to surge and the engine power dropped to near idle. The pilot attempted to troubleshoot the problem by adjusting the throttle, selecting another fuel tank, and turning the electric engine fuel boost pump on; however, it did not help. Observing an airport nearby, the pilot elected to cancel his IFR flight plan and set up best glide in an attempt to reach the airport. During the glide the pilot attempted an engine restart, which was not successful.

When down to about 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL), the pilot observed that he was not going to make the airport, and elected to activate the airplane’s ballistic parachute. Seconds later the airplane impacted trees before coming to rest inverted on the ground in a yard of a residence. The pilot was able to exit the airplane unassisted. As the pilot was exiting the airplane, the homeowner came outside to determine what had happened. He said he heard no engine noises, just the sound of something crashing through the trees. The pilot warned the homeowner to be cautious due to the smell of fuel. The homeowner noted the smell. The airplane was recovered for further examination.

The airplane was examined at Lancaster, Texas, on December 22, 2010. An examination of the airplane’s engine showed continuity through the crankshaft, piston rods and pistons. A boroscope examination of the cylinders showed normal fuel combustion deposits. Continuity was confirmed through camshaft, pushrods and valves. The fuel pump was removed and examined. A small amount of fuel was observed coming from the fuel inlet line to the fuel pump. The airplane’s engine was test run on the airframe. The engine was started, allowed to warm up at idle, and then advanced to 1,700 rpm to check the magnetos. The throttle was then advanced to 2,700 rpm and to full power. All engine indications showed normal. After about 10 minutes, the engine was shut down using the mixture control. The examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operation and production of rated horsepower. No other anomalies with the airplane were found.

The airplane was fueled the day before the flight with 42 gallons of 100 low lead. The airplane was flown on the day of the accident in the morning by another pilot. That pilot burned about 27.5 gallons of fuel. The pilot was notified soon afterward about flying a passenger to T41 that afternoon. The pilot had a mechanic take the airplane to the fuel pumps and had it filled “to the tabs.” Before taking off for T41, the pilot visually checked the fuel. Both tanks were filled to about one inch above the tabs. The pilot burned about 22 gallons of fuel on the flight to T41. The pilot dropped off the passenger and took off on the return leg for GGG. On level off, the pilot noted the fuel, figured he would burn 25 gallons during the one hour flight, leaving 20 gallons remaining on landing.

The SR22 Pilot's Operating Handbook reads that the airplane has a total fuel capacity of 84 gallons, 42 gallons per the two fuel tanks. The total usable fuel in level flight is 81 gallons. The unusable fuel is 3 gallons or 1.5 gallons per fuel tank.

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