A preliminary report on
the recent Florida CAPS deployment, in IMC, has been published.
Please note that this is a preliminary report and does not
constitute the final decision as to the causes leading up to this
accident... which, thankfully, harmed no one.
Regardless of what broke/malfunctioned or not, the one
over-riding conclusion we can make at this time is that the pilot
made a good decision in realizing that he did not know exactly what
was happening to his airplane and resorting to the one solution
that he had confidence in to avoid a catastrophic accident.
Any landing you can walk away from.....
NTSB Identification: MIA04LA070
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 10, 2004 in N. Lauderdale,
Aircraft: Cirrus Design Corp. SR22, registration: N916LJ
Injuries: 1 Uninjured. [emphasis added by
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 April 10, 2004, about 0956 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus
Design Corp. SR22, N916LJ, registered to Cellventures of NY, Inc.,
collided with trees during descent near North Lauderdale, Florida,
after the pilot intentionally activated the Cirrus Airframe
Parachute System (CAPS). Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC)
prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight
plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight from the Fort
Lauderdale Executive Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Palm
Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach, Florida. The airplane
was substantially damaged and the private-rated pilot, the sole
occupant, was not injured. The flight originated about 6 minutes
earlier from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
The pilot reported no discrepancies either during the preflight
inspection nor during the engine run-up before takeoff. He obtained
his IFR clearance, and shortly after takeoff the flight encountered
IMC at 400 feet mean sea level. While communicating with the Miami
Air Route Traffic Control Center and climbing at 800
feet-per-minute (FPM), the vertical speed indicator suddenly
decreased to 0, then increased to 2,000 FPM, then went back to 0.
He also reported there was no turbulence encountered during this
time. He advised air traffic control (ATC) that the flight needed
to return, and was vectored heading 270 degrees, and cleared to
climb to 2,000 feet. At that point, the altimeter began bouncing
with very large deflections, then the attitude indicator did not
agree with the turn coordinator. He did not activate the alternate
static source, and advised the controller that he was "losing
gauges" and he would be unable to execute an instrument landing
system approach to the departure airport. He then advised the
controller that he was going to activate the CAPS, and he did. He
noted that following the deployment of the CAPS, the emergency
locator transmitter activated, and his door separated. The airplane
descended reasonably flat into trees, with most of the damage to
the airplane occurring because of the tree contact and not the
ground contact. He further reported he did not feel the point of
Preliminary examination of the static system of the airplane
revealed the lines contained water between the static port openings
and the alternate static air valve; the water was retained for
analysis. Additionally, testing of the pitot static system from the
alternate air source to the altimeter and vertical speed indicator
revealed no discrepancies with the instruments. Bench testing of
the attitude indicator and turn coordinator revealed no evidence of
failure or malfunction.