The Details Of A Tragic Pilot-Error Accident Unfold
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, February 06, 2005 in Norden, CA
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp SR22 G2, registration: N286CD
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
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.
On February 6, 2005, about 1820 Pacific standard time, a Cirrus
Design Corporation SR22 G2, N286CD, impacted mountainous terrain
after encountering icing conditions near Norden, California. The
owner/pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14
CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal
injuries; the airplane was destroyed. The personal cross-country
flight departed Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO), Reno,
Nevada, at 1753, en route to Oakland, California. Instrument
meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's cruise
altitude and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been
filed. The primary wreckage was at 39 degrees 17 minutes north
latitude and 120 degrees 20 minutes west longitude.
Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) reviewed
recorded radar data and noted a secondary 4271 discreet beacon code
(assigned by air traffic control (ATC ) to the accident aircraft)
at a mode C reported altitude of 4,600 feet msl (mean sea level).
Recorded radar data indicated that the target took off from RNO
southbound, and while climbing, executed a 270-degree left turn. It
continued climbing on a westerly course for about 18 minutes 30
seconds, and obtained a mode C reported altitude of 16,100 feet
msl. The target leveled off and maintained 16,100 feet msl for
about 3 minutes 40 seconds. Radar data showed that the target
initiated a climb and obtained a mode C reported altitude of 16,700
feet msl. The last 12 seconds of recorded radar data indicated that
the target was in a descent. Radar contact was lost at 18:17:29, at
a mode C reported altitude of 15,700 feet msl.
During the flight the pilot reported to air traffic controllers
that he was in icing conditions and was not able to maintain
The first identified wreckage was the parachute canopy,
miscellaneous interior panels, pieces of Plexiglas, and a pilot's
flight guide. An employee of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort who was grooming
the ski runs found the debris at 0140, on February 7, 2005. The
parts were scattered across the north slope of Mount Lincoln at the
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. The emergency locator transmitter (ELT)
separated and fragmented.
At 1137, on February 7, 2005, Placer County Search and Rescue
(SAR) found the main wreckage on the south-facing slope of Mount
Lincoln at an altitude on 7,690 msl.
An examination of the pilot's logbook indicated an estimated
total flight time of 473.2 hours. The pilot logged 100.4 hours in
the last 90 days, and 38.9 in the last 30 days. He had an estimated
69 hours in this make and model. He completed a biennial flight
review on December 29, 2004. Prior to the accident flight the pilot
had logged a total of 75.1 hours of instrument time, with 11.9
hours of that in actual IFR conditions.
The pilot had bought the airplane new from Cirrus Design and had
taken delivery of it on December 23, 2004. The airplane had 6.7
total hours since new when the pilot took delivery. The last entry
in the pilot's records indicated that the airplane had 98.7 hours
total time since new on the date of the accident.
The closest official weather observation station was
Truckee-Tahoe Airport, Truckee, California, (TRK), which was 9.3
nautical miles (nm) northeast of the accident site. The elevation
of the weather observation station was 5,900 feet msl. An aviation
routine weather report (METAR) for TRK was issued at 1810. It
stated: winds from 240 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 10 miles;
skies 3,400 feet broken, 10,000 feet overcast; temperature 37
degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 27 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),
Cirrus Design, Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS), and Teledyne
Continental Motors (TCM) were parties to the investigation. The
Safety Board IIC and the parties examined the wreckage on site and
at Plain Parts, Sacramento, California, on February 10, 2005,
following recovery of the wreckage.
Factory representatives from Cirrus Design and Ballistic
Recovery Systems examined the recovered components of the Cirrus
Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). The factory representatives said
the damage to the CAPS components indicated that the system was
activated well above the design limits, and at a very high
The emergency procedures (section 3, Page 3-22) of the Cirrus
Design SR22 pilot operating handbook states:
"Once the decision is made to deploy CAPS, the following actions
should be taken:
1. Airspeed. MINIMUM POSSIBLE
The maximum demonstrated deployment speed is 133 KIAS. Reducing
airspeed allows minimum parachute loads and prevents structural
overload and possible parachute failure."
The airplane wreckage was retained for further